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BRITISH FLOWERING PLANTS

which are about twice as long as the expanse of the wings. The pale yellowish larva, with a black head, forms a flattened pear-shaped case of fragments of leaves, in which it lives, feeding on chlorophyll, till it reaches its full growth, when it becomes a pupa within the case itself.

Buttercup—Ranunculus auricomus

(Plate III)

The genus Ranunculus, to which the Buttercups and Crowfoots belong, contains a great number of species, some of which are very abundant in woods and pastures. The flowers of the Buttercups (generally with 5 sepals and petals) are of a paler or deeper yellow, while the Water Crowfoots are white.

The species which we have figured grows about a foot high, and is common in woods, where it flowers in April and May. The root-leaves are smooth, kidney-shaped, and notched or lobate; while the leaves on the stem are pinnate, sessile, entire or dentated, and the flower-bearing stalks are erect. The root is fibrous. The stem is upright, cylindrical, smooth, and simple, or branching above. The flower-stalks rise from the axils of the leaves, or from the upper part of the stem. The flowers are large, with a golden-yellow corolla. The petals are round, entire, veined, and provided with a very short base. The sepals are about half as long as the petals, and are yellowish, pubescent, and obtuse. The seeds are gathered into a round cluster, and each seed has a curved beak at the extremity. This species is sometimes called "Goldilocks," a translation of its Latin name.

Among the Buttercups found in meadows, one of the commonest is Ranunculus bulbosus, easily distinguished by the upper part of the root forming a small white bulb. All the Buttercups are very acrid plants, and cattle will not eat them in the fresh state; but when dried among hay they are harmless. It is, therefore, quite a mistake to suppose that the yellow colour of butter is due to cows eating buttercups, though it is almost certain that buttercups derived their name from their being more