Tag Archives: Buttercups

Educated Fleas

I thought that I would take Fizz up in the fields and take her picture in amongst the Dandelions…


FizzBut I became distracted.

This is St Mark’s Fly (Bibio marci)

St Mark's FlyWe call it that because they all emerge around about the same time, April the twenty fifth and that is St Mark’s Day. They are a little bit late this year.

These first picture are of the male. He has large eyes and clear wings, also very long back legs that hang below him in flight. Last year I searched in vain for a female of the species. They look quite different.

The problem is that the adults only live for about a week and as they all emerge at the same time there is very little opportunity to see them.

St Mark's FlyAnd there she was, distracting me… I forgot all about Fizz.

St Mark's FlyShe has small eyes , she is a little bit longer than the male and has dark wings.

St Mark's FlyBut even though she looks so different I am quite confident that this is the female of the species.

St Mark's Fly

St Mark's FlyI have heard it said that the male has such big eyes so that he can find the female and that is quite believable. I had a lot of trouble finding her.

The Dandelions are beginning to fade now.

FizzThe Buttercups are just starting to appear.

As soon as the Dandelions go these fields will fill with Buttercups.Buttercup

ButtercupIt looks like these fields are going to be grown for silage again this year, the grass is already too long for Sheep. That is good because for a few months we will get long grass and lots of wildflowers and all of the associated insects.

I will leave you with the firework display called Ribwort Plantain.

Ribwort Plantain

Ribwort Plantain

Ribwort Plantain

Ribwort Plantain

Ribwort Plantain



Well our Buttercups have gone and so now is a good time to write about them.

Meadow ButtercupMown down by the cruel farmers.

Cruel FarmerThe Buttercups haven’t really gone they will flower all summer in the hedgerows and along country tracks.

Meadow ButtercupBut despite my landlord’s retired status this is a working farm and the pastures have to be made use of.

These fields were allowed to grow so that they could be harvested for animal feed. Our fields are being turned into silage and on a neighbour’s farm the very same grass is being cut for hay.

The difference is just that our grass is being collected when wet and stored in a silo where it will be allowed to ferment before being fed to the animals. It’s “pickled” as my farmer friends explained to me. The grass for hay will be spread out in the field and allowed to dry in the sun before being collected.

Buttercups are extremely poisonous to livestock (and us) but both processes break down the toxins and render the meadow safe.

sILAGEWatching the process of turning our wild flower meadow into silage I was surprised at how much work was involved. When it came to collecting the grass they had one machine picking it up and that was followed by five tractors towing trailers that were being filled and taking the grass away.

There were a lot of people and machines involved and I remarked to my friend, “I am surprised that there is so much money in grass,” I was told that it was not really being grown for profit but just to provide food for the farmer’s own animals, I suppose it is cheaper than buying it.

Well short grass means that I can see what is going on in the fields and it also means that Fizz doesn’t lose her ball so often which saves me a bit of money.


We had two species growing in the field. The golden mass was Meadow Buttercup, Ranunculus acris.

Meadow ButtercupMore concentrated around the outside of the field, the hedgerows and shady areas we had, still have, Creeping Buttercup, Ranunculus repens.

Creeping ButtercupThey are quite different looking plants and I will show you the differences but they can get confusing especially because as in this next picture they often grow in the same spot and get all mixed up with each other.

ButtercupsWhen they are mixed up like this you can separate the two species by looking at the flower stem.

Creeping Buttercup has a ridged stem.

Creeping ButtercupMeadow Buttercup has a smooth stem.

Meadow ButtercupGenerally you don’t have to look that close.

Meadow Buttercup is a tall gangly plant with little foliage.

Meadow ButtercupThe sparse leaves are narrow and deeply divided.

Meadow ButtercupIt grows on a single stem with a scattering of basal leaves.

Meadow ButtercupCreeping Buttercup is much more of a bushy little plant.

Creeping ButtercupIt has broad palmate leaves and a lot of them.

Creeping ButtercupIt is multi stemmed.

Creeping ButtercupThe flowers of the two species look very much the same and both can be used to find out if somebody likes butter.

Creeping Buttercup

Meadow ButtercupButtercups are no good to eat but wonderful to drink. Poisonous to livestock, they nourish insects and in their own way the insects return the love.

Green Veined White

Green Veined White

These are two of our most common native buttercups, there are others but perhaps in another post. For now these are my buttercups. I hope that you like them.