Reddish Vale Country Park
Buttercups are mostly herbaceous perennials with bright yellow or white flowers (if white, still with a yellow centre).
Buttercups are members of the Ranunculus genus which also includes spearworts, water crowfoot and the lesser celandine, but not the greater celandine which is a member of the poppy family.
Buttercups 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.
Buttercups are poisonous when eaten fresh by cattle, horses, and other livestock, but their acrid taste 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. The toxins in buttercups are degraded by drying, so hay containing dried buttercups is safe for livestock.
An old superstition says if you hold a buttercup under your face, and yellow light is reflected on your face, it means you like butter.
In the interior of the Pacific Northwest of the United States the buttercup is called 'Coyote's eyes'. In the legend Coyote was tossing his eyes up in the air and catching them again when an eagle swooped down and snatched them. Unable to see Coyote made eyes from buttercups.
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