Open the Advanced Search

Celery-leaved Buttercup

Ranunculus sceleratus

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Ditches, gardens, parks, riversides, wasteland, waterside, wetland.

Yellow, 5 petals
Petals are not notched. 5 sepals. Many stamens. Up to 1cm wide.
Fruits take the form of an elongated head.
An annual flower with alternate leaves along the stems. Shiny dark green, palmately lobed leaves. The leaves on the stems are narrower.
Other Names:
Ache, Blister Buttercup, Blisterwort, Celery Buttercup, Celery-leaf Buttercup, Celery-leaved Crowfoot, Crowfoot Buttercup, Cursed Buttercup, Cursed Crowfoot, Marsh Crowfoot, Poison Buttercup, Vicious Buttercup, Water Celery.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Other Information


Ranunculus sceleratus, also known as cursed buttercup or vicious buttercup, is a species of flowering plant in the family Ranunculaceae. It is native to Europe and is commonly found in grassland, meadows, and pastures. R. sceleratus is a herbaceous annual that grows to a height of up to 30 centimeters. It has long, narrow, green leaves and small, yellow or orange flowers that bloom in the spring and summer. The plant is toxic to humans and livestock if ingested and can cause a variety of symptoms, including skin irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is also a noxious weed in some parts of the world and can cause damage to crops. Despite its toxic properties, R. sceleratus is valued for its ornamental value and is commonly grown in gardens and parks.


Celery-leaved Buttercup, Ranunculus sceleratus, is a herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the Ranunculaceae family. It is native to Europe and Western Asia but has been widely introduced to other parts of the world as an ornamental plant. This plant is well known for its bright yellow flowers and its celery-like leaves, hence its name.

The flowers of Celery-leaved Buttercup are single, with five petals and a yellow color that makes them stand out in the garden. They bloom in the spring and early summer and are held above the foliage on long stems. The leaves are lacy and delicate, resembling those of celery, and are often used as an edible garnish.

Despite its beautiful appearance, Celery-leaved Buttercup is considered an invasive weed in many areas. It grows rapidly and forms dense colonies that can displace native vegetation and impact the ecological balance of an area. This is because it has the ability to spread rapidly by seed and can be difficult to control once established.

In order to prevent the spread of this plant, it is important to take steps to control its growth. This can be done by removing it manually or by using chemical herbicides. It is also important to avoid planting it in areas where it is known to be invasive, and to choose alternative plants that are less likely to cause problems.

In addition to its invasive nature, Celery-leaved Buttercup is also toxic to both humans and animals if ingested. The entire plant, including the roots and leaves, contain toxic compounds that can cause skin irritation, digestive issues, and even death in severe cases. It is important to keep this in mind if you have pets or children who may come into contact with the plant.

Despite its harmful effects, Celery-leaved Buttercup does have some uses in traditional medicine. In some cultures, the plant has been used to treat various ailments such as skin conditions, digestive problems, and even cancer. However, it is important to note that these uses have not been scientifically proven and the plant should not be used as a self-medication tool.

In terms of cultivation, Celery-leaved Buttercup is relatively easy to grow and is suitable for both gardens and wildflower meadows. It prefers moist, fertile soils and full sun to partial shade. The plant is propagated by seed and can also be divided in the spring. However, it is important to be cautious when growing this plant as it can quickly spread and become invasive.

In addition to its invasive and toxic properties, Celery-leaved Buttercup also has a negative impact on agriculture. The plant can quickly spread and become a major problem in crops, particularly in fields where the soil is disturbed. It is known to reduce crop yields and can also cause mechanical harvesting problems. In order to reduce the impact of Celery-leaved Buttercup on agriculture, farmers often use cultivation techniques that minimize soil disturbance, such as no-till methods.

In terms of its impact on wildlife, Celery-leaved Buttercup can have both positive and negative effects. On one hand, the bright yellow flowers provide a valuable source of nectar for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. On the other hand, the plant's toxic properties can be harmful to wildlife that consume it. In areas where it has become invasive, it can also displace native plant species that provide important habitat and food for wildlife.

Despite its negative impact on the environment, Celery-leaved Buttercup has been used in ornamental horticulture for many years. Its bright yellow flowers and celery-like leaves make it a popular choice for cottage and wildflower gardens. If you are considering growing Celery-leaved Buttercup for ornamental purposes, it is important to choose a cultivar that is non-invasive and to take steps to prevent its spread.

In conclusion, Celery-leaved Buttercup is a complex plant with both positive and negative impacts on the environment. While its bright yellow flowers and celery-like leaves make it an attractive choice for ornamental gardens, its invasive and toxic properties make it a potential problem in the environment. It is important to be aware of these potential impacts and to take steps to prevent its spread in order to protect our ecosystems and wildlife.


Celery-leaved Buttercup filmed at Marshside, Southport in Lancashire on the 4th June 2023.


Please remember to Like and Subscribe to the WildFlowerWeb YouTube channel at

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map