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Water Buttercup is a choice food source
of dabbling ducks. Both the fruit and foliage are consumed by a
variety of waterfowl. Water Buttercup is sometimes eaten by
non-water birds such as grouse. Water buttercup provides valuable
habitat for aquatic insects and is considered a food producer for
In quiet water, water buttercup can
form dense mats and hinder access and restrict recreational
activities. Generally, water buttercup does not cause problems in
large lakes because wave action tends to break the brittle stems
and prevent the formation of large colonies. Most problems caused
by water buttercup are in small ponds, lakes, and sluggish streams
that often became choked by mid-summer.
Water buttercup has long, branched
stems that emerge from both trailing runners and buried rhizomes.
The leaves are finely cut into thread-like divisions (white) or
flattened divisions (yellow) and either attach directly to the stem
or have a very short leaf stalk. Leaves emerge along the stem in an
alternate arrangement and are usually stiff enough to hold their
shape when lifted out of the water.
White or yellow, five petal flowers
are produced on stalks just above the water surface. As flowers
develop into fruit, the stalks curve back into the water and a
cluster of 15-25 nutlets is produced.
Water Buttercup can sometimes be
confused with Chara. Unlike chara,
water buttercup does not smell "musky" when pulled from the water.
Look for the conspicuous yellow or white flowers produced by water
buttercup from June through September.
A. Spot treat as
needed to maintain navigation channels and swimming areas. Remember
this plant is very beneficial and should not be treated where
it is not a nuisance.
A. Once water
temperatures are around sixty degrees or warmer and/or the plant is
actively flowering. Water Buttercup responds equally well to
herbicide treatment when mature.
A. One treatment per
season is usually enough.
A. Generally within
one to two weeks things will be cleared up.
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