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Tall Buttercup

Family - Buttercup Ranunculaceae
Life Cycle - Simple Perennial
Habitat - Prefers moist to well-drained humus soils but can survive coarse, gravelly soil given sufficient moisture. Infestations will decrease dramatically in very dry years, but rebound and expand in wet years.

Key Features

  • Grows erect, 30-100 cm
  • Lower and middle leaves are similar in appearance
  • Leaf bladed deeply lobed but not completely divided into 3-5 sections
  • Distinct leaf stalks, flattened and partly surrounding stem

Cotyledons are round to oval and long-stalked. The true leaves have long petioles and blades with three to five rounded lobes.

Tall buttercup has long, erect stems emerging from a short, but thick, rootstock. They have a hairy surface and are often branched near the top of the plant. The basal and lower leaves have long petioles and are softly hairy on both surfaces. The blade is palmately divided into five elongated lobes, each further divided into narrow, toothed segments. The upper leaves are small, nearly stalkless and usually three-lobed. Tall buttercup is highly unpalatable due to the presence of a bitter juice throughout the plant. If grazed, the juice can cause blistering and inflammation of the mouth and digestive system.

Bright yellow flowers with five rounded petals are located on long stalks at the top of the plant. Each flower produces a cluster of beige-yellow, egg shaped, flattened seeds with a short, hooked tip.

Use only certified weed-free grass and forage seed. Do not sell or purchase contaminated hay. Good pasture management will help prevent the spread.