Mt. Nusatsum

Mt. Nusatsum

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fields of.....Buttercups

One thing that is not unique to the Bella Coola Valley are buttercups, (Ranunculus sp.) but they certainly are pervasive and worse in some areas than others.  Some hay fields eventually get to the point where the fields have to be reworked and that seems to slow them down for a few years.

They are nasty plants when you mow them or cut them with a weed whacker - the cutting action breaking the leaves causes a chemical called ranunculin to be released which further breaks down into toxic chemicals that can burn skin.  When you are mowing the lawn it stings your eyes and can get hard to breath if there is enough of them as the mower chops it up and expels the mixture.  Cows and horses eat all the grass in and around the buttercup and will leave a whole field standing, but apparently the buttercup which is in dried hay gets eaten because once it dries, the toxic chemicals break down and are gone - something redeeming about another wise annoying weed.  Grizzly

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