Of all our #BiomatrixID plant species, you won’t find any others which are loved by endangered butterflies, avoided by cattle, home to frogs and used to treat the plague! It is with great pleasure to introduce… Ranunculus flammula! Ranunculus flammula, or Lesser spearwort, particularly favours sites with seasonally fluctuating water levels such as those that might be found on the margins of ponds and lakes, by stream sides and near springs and flushes. It is also found in water meadows, flood plain pastures, marshes and bogs. The stems of this yellow-flowered buttercup species creep along the sides of ditches and wet ground, and it bears pretty yellow buttercups from May to August. Perfect for the waters edge, its sprawling nature provides the perfect cover for wildlife in and around the waters edge. Its blooms attract a variety of pollinating insects. Indeed, the False Ringlet butterfly, one of the most threatened European butterfly species, and protected by the Habitats Directive and Bern Convention derives its main nectar supply from Lesser Spearwort. There is some debate over the origin of the name Ranunculus flammula: some believe that it derives from the Latin for little flame, and could relate to the fiery flavour (and toxicity) of its leaves. Touching or eating any part of the plant may irritate the skin or cause stomach upsets. These are poisonous to (and have been known to kill) grazing animals, which leave them well alone, with a burning (you could say flaming) taste keeping them at bay! Others however, think that the name stems from the Latin 'rana', meaning little frog, and may refer to the plants typical marshy habit where frogs abound. The real truth is, as often is the case, likely a little from column A, a little from column B! Medicinally, Lesser spearwort was also used to treat the sores of Bubonic plague in the 16th century. And were known in the Highlands of Scotland and across Ireland for their power to raise blisters and to act as a counter- irritant for all rheumatic afflictions in the same way as nettles.