Life Coach Magazine

Eco-hydrology: Ranunculus Aris

By Aqualed @aqua_led
The buttercup or "Botón de oro" in Spanish (golden button), is the plant that has given me the motivation to write my next research paper, to be presented at the XXV Latin American Congress of Hydraulics or at the Tenth International Conference on Hydroscience and Engineering (perhaps to a journal?). Here I will give you a snapshot on the abstract I am writing.

Eco-hydrology: Ranunculus aris

Reproduced with the permission of JM Gavilan

Ranunculus Repens L is the scientific name of this plant (some cite it as Ranunculus Aris), from the family Ranunculae. The name is derived from the Latin Rana (frog) and colo (inhabit), since these species are commonly found in permanently or eventually logged soils. According to the page of Eduardo León Ruiz, this species was discovered by Carlos Clusio o de L´Eclusé in the 16th century in Lisboa, after which the scientist took it to Belgium (bad idea!!). I don´t know how it came or who brought it to America, but I know it was a very bad idea.
According to some sources (e.g., Turner, 1984), this plant can be used for medicinal purposes. Other sources have even cited the botón de oro as a plant with nutritional properties for livestock (although at that time the botón de oro was named by Maecha and Rosales under a different family name Tithonia diversifolia, I shall do some research on it). However, its use is commonly restricted due to their irritating properties on the gastrointestinal and the renal system, caused by toxic alkaloids derived from the protoanemonin contained (Turner, 1984). Dermatitis has also been identified to be a secondary effect.
The juice of this plant is, of course, as poisonous for animals as it is for humans. Around the world, the poisonous effects of the Ranunculus have been identified for long. Here in the Andes, the plant is known as "q´íllu q´illlu" from the Quechua yellow-yellow, and its undesired effects are well known. In the region of the Titicaca and Poopó Basin, their presence is not welcomed, and some removal campaigns have been organized since 2010 (read the press article on it); however, serious studies on it are very scarce (e.g., Morales et al., 1989). After this short introduction on this interesting species, have you guessed why a hydrologist would be interested in studying it?
References."Abortos en una lechería de la VIII Región de Chile atribuídos al consumo de botón de oro (Ranunculus Repens L.)", by Hernán Morales, Universidad Austral de Chile, Archivos de Medicina Veterinaria XXI No.2, 1989. "Counter-irritant and other medicinal uses of plants in ranunculaceae by native peoples in british columbia and neighbouring areas", by Nancy Turner, Journal of Ethnopharmacology Vol 11 (2), July 1984, Pages 181-201.  "Guía de plantas", by Eduardo León Ruiz."Livestock poisoning weeds of Oregon", by Helen Gilkey, Agricultural Experiment Station, Oregon State College, Station Bulletin 564, January 1958. "Requieren investigación para eliminar el botón de oro". Press article (source uncited), May 7th 2010. Oruro, Bolivia."Valor nutricional del follaje de botón de oro Tithonia diversifolia (Hemsl.) Gray, en la producción animal en el trópico",by Liliana Maecha and Mauricio Rosales (date uncited).

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