It’s a Weed: Tall buttercup

Leader staff

Tall buttercup spreads by seed and is toxic to animals. It is a noxious weed, so Albertans are required to control it.

Alberta Invasive Species Council website ( says cultivation, hand picking mowing (before seeds form), and chemicals are options for dealing with an infestation. People should wear gloves and long sleeves when touching buttercup, because it can cause blisters and redness on the skin.

“Stems are erect, hollow,and sometimes hairy, highly branched in the upper part of the plant, and grow to 90 cm tall.

“Leaves on the lower stem are 3-8 cm long, on long stalks and deeply divided into 3-5 lobes. The upper leaves are smaller, hairy and are divided into 3-4 narrow segments. Basal leaves have no stalks, three simple lobes and are 1-2 cm long. The amount and depth of the leaf lobes is highly variable.

“Flowers are bright yellow, on long stalks, and have five petals, each 10-14 mm long. The upper surface of the petals is waxy, giving them a shiny, lacquered appearance. Each plant produces about 250 seeds, which can remain viable for 2-4 years. The tiny, brown-black seeds are carried easily by water. Seed clusters are prickly and can attach to hair and clothing.”

Under the Alberta Weed Control Act, land owners are required to control noxious weeds and destroy prohibited noxious weeds.

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