Buttercups are not sweet and innocent

Golden buttercup is one of those innocent wild flowers of childhood. Or is it?

By Tom Pattinson
Sunday, 28 April, 2019, 16:40
The RHS advises that primroses are safe to eat. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

Did we really hold a bloom under a friend’s chin to check whether they liked butter? The cell-sap can cause skin irritation and blisters, and the flower contains ranunculin, a glycocide that causes severe gastro-intestinal irritation.

How did we survive growing up in the countryside?

Buttercups were in the news recently when a food magazine displayed an image of a cake decorated with the petals on its cover. It highlighted a danger in the trend of using flowers in the presentation of food, something that should be approached in an informed way.

When searching for edible flowers be sure of the source, then consider the possibility of them having been sprayed with pesticide. Growing your own obviates this problem.

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Use flower petals to enhance a meal, but stick to those known to be safe.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) offers advice on which flowers can be eaten. Three of these are blooming at present – primrose, violet and daisy.

It also confirms that roses, nasturtium, geranium, marigold, elderflower and lavender are safe.