Ranunculus sceleratus

Ranunculus sceleratus known by the common names celery-leaved buttercup and cursed buttercup  is a species of flowering plant in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. It has a circumpolar distribution in the northern hemisphere, native to temperate and boreal North America and Eurasia, where it grows in wet and moist habitats, including ponds and streambanks.

Ranunculus sceleratus


Scientific classification














R. sceleratus

Binomial name

Ranunculus sceleratus



Names in different languages:

English name – Celery-Leafed Crowfoot, Celery-leaved buttercup, Cursed crowfoot, Cursed Buttercup, Poisonous buttercup.

Other names – Apio Sardónico, Herbe de Feu, Herbe Sardonique, Mort aux Vaches, Renoncule Scélérate, Sardonia.

Hindi name- Deva kandrara , Jal Dhaniya

Arabic name- Kabikazaz

Marathi Name: khajakollathi, Kulagi

Bihari name – Palika

Kumayun – Sim

Farsi name – Karafs Dashti


Ranunculus sceleratus is an annual herb growing up to half a meter tall. The leaves are more or less glabrous (hairless) and have small blades each deeply lobed or divided into three leaflets. They are borne on long petioles. The flowers are 5-10mm across with five or fewer yellow petals a few millimeters long and reflexed sepals. The fruit is an achene borne in a cluster of several.


While buttercups are toxic due to the presence of the substance protoanemonin, this applies in particular for the cursed buttercup: it is the most toxic buttercup and contains 2.5% protoanemonin. When the leaves are wrinkled, damaged or crushed, they bring out unsightly sores and blisters on human skin.





Ranunculus sceleratus has a circumpolar distribution in the northern hemisphere There are three subspecies with distinctive distributions, R. sceleratus ssp. reptabundus occurring in northern Finland and north-west Russia, and R. scleratus var. multifidus in north western North America. R. scleratus var. longissimus is the third variety/subspecies, found from Minnesota to Alabama according to their biodiversity and plant atlases respectively.


PART USED AND PREPARATION—The fresh herb, gathered when in fruit,

but still green and untouched by frost, is chopped and pounded to a pulp and

weighed. Then two parts by weight of alcohol are taken, the pulp thoroughly

mixed with one-si.xth part of it, and the rest of the alcohol added. After having

stirred the whole well, it is poured into a well-stoppered bottle, and allowed to stand eight days in a dark, cool place. The tincture is then separated by straining and filtering. Thus prepared it has a clear reddish-orange color by transmitted light; an acrid odor and taste; and an acid reaction.

PHYSIOLOGICAL ACTION—According to Basiner,+ the oil of Ranunculus

acts, in warm-blooded animals, as an acrid narcotic, producing, in small doses,

stupor and slow respiration ; in larger doses, also, paralysis of the posterior and anterior extremities, and, before death, convulsions of the whole body. The acrid action is shown by a corrosive gastritis and by hyperaemia of the kidneys, more particularly their cortical substance. Anemonin causes similar symptoms, but is followed by no convulsions, nor does it irritate sufficiently to corrode the organs, as in the oil. Krapf states § that a small portion of a leaf or flower of R. scelcnitus, or two drops of the juice, excited acute pain in the stomach, and a sense of inflammation of the throat; when he chewed the most succulent leaves, the salivary glands were strongly stimulated ; his tongue was excoriated and cracked; his teeth smarted, and his cornea became tender and bloody.

A man, at Bevay, France, swallowed a glassful of the juice, which had been

kept for some time; he was seized in four hours with violent colic and vomiting, and died the second day.


Anemoninic Acid.—When boiled with an excess of baryta water, anemonin

decomposes, forming, among other bodies, red flakes of anemoninate oi barium (Lowig and Weidman). Prof. Frehling, who afterward examined into the subject, says, "this acid cannot be formed from anemonin by simply assumption with water.

Feed not found.