Sunday, 8 June 2008

Buttercup and Ox-Eye Daisy

After awhile not blogging about anything, finally we are back to track and visiting more interesting place. This time round we was visiting coton manor, northamptonshire. The place wasn't too big but just nice for a stroll or lazy walk. Here is one small bit of it. The wild flower meadow full of ox eye daisy and buttercup.
Enjoy!

The oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare, syn. Chrysanthemum leucanthemum) also known as the marguerite is a widespread flowering plant native to Europe and the temperate regions of Asia. It is one of a number of plants to be called by the common name daisy. It is also sometimes called moon daisy or dog daisy.

It is a perennial prostrate herb with small flower head (not larger than 5 cm) that consists of about 20 white ray flowers and numerous yellow disc flowers, growing on the end of the stem. The stem is mostly unbranched and sprouts laterally from a creeping rootstock.

The leaves are darkgreen on both sides. The basal and middle leaves are petiolate, obovate to spoon-shaped, and serrate to dentate. The upper leaves are shorter, sessile and borne along the stem. It produces an abundant number of flat seeds without pappus. It spreads also vegetatively by rooting underground stems.

The oxeye daisy is a typical meadow flower, growing in a variety of plant communities such as dry fields, meadows, but also under scrubs, open-canopy forests and waste places. It thrives in a wide range of conditions and prefers heavy and damp soils.

It was introduced in parts of North America, Australia and New Zealand, where it is now a common weed displacing native plant species in some areas. It is difficult to control or eradicate, since a new plant can regenerate from rhizome fragments. However, in North Carolina it is planted on roadsides by the highway department.

The game "He loves me, he loves me not" ("effeuiller la marguerite" (in French)) is associated with this flower.

Unfortunately, Josiah is asleeepppp......

Ranunculus is a large genus of about 400 species of plants in the Ranunculaceae. It includes the buttercups, spearworts, water crowfoots and the lesser celandine (but not the greater celandine of the poppy family Papaveraceae).

They are mostly herbaceous perennials with bright yellow or white flowers (if white, still with a yellow centre); some are annuals or biennials. A few have orange or red flowers and occasionally, as in R. auricomus, petals may be absent. The petals are often highly lustrous, especially in yellow species.
The Water crowfoots (Ranunculus subgenus Batrachium), which grow in still or running water, are sometimes treated in a separate genus Batrachium. They have two different leaf types, thread-like leaves underwater and broader floating leaves although for some species, such as R. aquatilis, a third, intermediate leaf form occurs.

Buttercups usually flower in April or May but flowers may be found throughout the summer especially where the plants are growing as opportunistic colonisers, as in the case of garden weeds.

All Ranunculus species are poisonous when eaten fresh by cattle, horses, and other livestock, but their acrid taste and the blistering of the mouth caused by their poison means they are usually left uneaten. Poisoning can occur where buttercups are abundant in overgrazed fields where little other edible plant growth is left, and the animals eat them out of desperation. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, excessive salivation, colic, and severe blistering of the mucous membranes and gastrointestinal tract. When Ranunculus plants are handled, naturally occurring ranunculin is broken down to form protoanemonin, which is known to cause contact dermatitis in humans and care should therefore be exercised in excessive handling of the plants. The toxins are degraded by drying, so hay containing dried buttercups is safe.

Ranunculus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Hebrew Character and Small Angle Shades.
Some species are popular ornamental flowers in horticulture, with many cultivars selected for large and brightly coloured flowers.

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