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Field Buttercups On Emmet Street, Thurles.

“There, on stems waving in the air on a warm gentle breeze,
Buttercups, ebb and flow like restless tides on rolling seas”

[Extract from the poem ‘Sun-Kissed Flowers‘, by Jenna Logan]

The hairy leaved bright yellow field Buttercups growing on the west bank of the river Suir presently, East on Emmet Street, are indeed quite striking. But soon their petals will fall, leaving behind green spiky fruit, reminiscent of tiny chestnuts.

View on Sunday last, June 13th, east on Emmet Street, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Nowadays the younger generation are more fascinated by their mobile phone screens, rather than playing the childhood game of holding a buttercup under your chin to see if you like butter. As children adults had us believe that the colour of the flowers eaten by cows somehow got into the milk giving rise to the production of yellow farmer’s butter.

Buttercups will grow anywhere and have in the past been used to treat rheumatism and fevers.
The plants flowers contain a chemical ‘Ranunculin’, which, when the plant is broken, crushed or chewed, changes to the toxin called ‘Protoanemonin’.

Protoanemonin is a bitter-tasting oil that irritates the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract, and is poisonous to horses, cats, and dogs. However, they generally don’t pose any real threat, because the toxin’s bitter taste limits the amount any animal will eat.

When dried these toxins which are part of the Buttercups makeup become harmless and so are edible for animals when found in dried hay.

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