It was once believed that buttercups gave butter its golden colour. However, we now know that’s not true.
Buttercups contain a chemical called Protoanemonin which is toxic to cows if eaten fresh. This is why fields that are grazed by cattle are often a great spot to see some buttercups as the cows won’t eat them.
These wildflowers are frequently visited by many pollinating invertebrates such as short-tongued bees who are able to reach the nectar as buttercups have 5 shiny yellow petals forming a shallow or flat flower.
There are many species of buttercup, 3 of the most commonly found ones each have subtle differences to distinguish them by are:
- Creeping buttercup – has runners which help it to spread
- Meadow buttercup – has smooth stems
- Bulbous buttercup – has sepals (leaf-like green bits under the flower) which curl away from the petals and hang down
Church Lane Local Nature Reserve in North Weald appears to be glowing with buttercups at the moment!
If you’re interested in local wildlife why not read the latest edition of Countrycare’s Catch-up.
You can learn about the season just passed, discover things to look out for in the season to come and maybe choose one of the Epping Forest district’s nature reserves for your next adventure.