The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.
Common Name: Western Buttercup
Ranunculus occidentalis is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.60 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
The juice from the flowers was used as a poison by native North American Indians[
]. Thse toxins are likely to be present in all parts of the plant and can be destroyed by heat or by drying[
]. Many if not all plants in this genus also have a strongly acrid juice that can cause blistering to the skin[
South-western N. America - British Columbia to California and Nevada.
Vernally moist ground, 100 - 1800 metres[
]. Grassy slopes of meadows or open woodlands from sea level to 1500 metres[
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors at least in the milder areas of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus.
Prefers a moist loamy soil[
A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[
Seed - cooked[
]. Used as piñole either on its own or mixed with other seeds[
]. The seed must be parched in order to remove an acrid principle[
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.