(Ranunculus scleratus) This is the most poisonous of the buttercups. It is, as Rambosson described it, ".une espèce très dangéreuse, dont les seules émanations excitent l'éternuement et des armes. Prise à l'intérieur, elle produit la contraction de la bouche et des joues, un rire sardonique...", which is probably what Apuleius was talking about in the Anglo-Saxon version of his herbarium, translated by Cockayne as ".whatsoever man fasting eats this wort, leaves his life laughing". (There is a French name, Herbe sardonique). Nevertheless, he goes on to list a few medicinal uses, for wounds and running sores (which can be caused anyway by contact with the extremely acrid juice, for which the plant had to be prepared as some kind of poultice, and "against swellings and against warts" (that is: strumae et furunculi), when it had to be pounded with swine's dung, and laid on -"within a few hours it will drive away the evil, and draw out the pus". Celery-leaved Buttercup crops up in Chinese medicine, the seeds being used for colds, rheumatism, etc., (F P Smith), and the whole herb is sued for ailments as diverse as malaria, boils and snake-bite (Chinese medicinal herbs of Hong Kong).
Centaurea cyanus > CORNFLOWER
Centaurea nigra > KNAPWEED
Centaurea solstitialis > ST BARNABY'S THISTLE
Centaurium erythraea > CENTAURY
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