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The ranunculus shrub inspires in the spring garden with bright yellow flowers. Because the Japanese Kerrie is an industrial hardy plant, it thrives as an opulent ornamental shrub in public parks, along roadsides, in front yards and in containers. So much floral beauty often goes hand in hand with harmful ingredients in the realm of Mother Nature. The question of whether Kerria japonica is poisonous or non-toxic to humans, cats and dogs is therefore justified. Read in-depth answers here.

Toxic to humans

Partially toxic to humans

The ranunculus bush is not completely friendly to people. Once the yellow cup flowers have finished their spring magic, globular, brown-black fruits with toxic seeds develop. These contain the hydrocyanic acid glycoside amygdalin. This acid is contained in the seeds of numerous other rose plants, such as in apple and apricot kernels or bitter almonds. While mere skin contact is not dangerous, intentional or unintentional consumption can lead to the following symptoms of poisoning.

  • sweats and tremors
  • nausea
  • Vomit
  • stomach cramps

Since toxic amygdalin can only be detected in traces, the seeds pose no danger to adults. Children, on the other hand, should not be within reach of a Japanese goldrose. Since this is not always possible in view of the widespread distribution of the popular ornamental shrub, please inform your offspring of the bad consequences that eating the berry-like fruits can have.

Immediate measures in case of poisoning

Tips for immediate measures in case of poisoning

If your children show the symptoms of poisoning mentioned here, keep calm so as not to panic the little ones. The seeds of the Kerrie only have a life-threatening effect in exorbitantly high amounts, which your child will not eat because of the bitter taste alone. Nevertheless, there is an immediate need for action to alleviate the health problems.

The Poison Center of the University Hospital Bonn recommends the following procedure:

  • get any leftover fruit and seeds out of your mouth
  • Give the child water or tea (not milk) to drink in small sips
  • Never induce vomiting with salt water
  • secure the fruits and seeds of the kerria and put them in a bag

Then contact your family doctor or pediatrician by phone to discuss how to proceed. Alternatively, call a poison control center where competent advisors are available around the clock.

Toxic to animals

Limited toxic to cats and dogs

If your cat or dog is nibbling on a ranunculus bush, this is not immediately a cause for concern. The leaves and shoots are non-toxic because the questionable hydrocyanic acid glycoside only develops in the seeds. These are found in the dark-colored, small and round fruits that form from the withered flowers.

In view of the comparatively low body weight, however, far smaller amounts than in adults or children can lead to symptoms of poisoning. This is all the more true because your four-legged friends do not perceive the bitter aftertaste as unpleasant as the human palate.

If your pets are allowed to move freely in the garden, it is therefore better not to plant a Kerria japonica. Young puppies and kittens on a journey of discovery are more at risk than experienced, four-legged seniors. The older a dog or cat, the more securely the instinctive alarm system works. If there is already an ornamental shrub in the garden, signal your pets with a clear and loud 'No' that consumption is prohibited.

Emergency measures in case of poisoning in animals

Tips on symptoms and immediate measures

Age, weight and the individual constitution determine whether the consumption of Japanese goldrose fruit will cause any problems for your cat or dog at all. Due to the low concentration of amygdalin, oral ingestion of small amounts is usually not dangerous. As determined in laboratory experiments, the lethal dose of hydrogen cyanide in rats and mice is around 400 mg per kg of body weight.

With an average weight of an adult cat of 3 to 4.5 kg and an adult dog of 10 to 30 kg, an utopian amount of seeds would have to be eaten to lead to life-threatening consequences.

The following symptoms indicate that the animal is not doing well:

  • Increased salivation
  • apathy and disinterest
  • Vomit

Keep calm and have a calming effect on the animal. If there are still plant remains in the mouth, please take them out and secure the material in a bag. Contact the veterinarian or drive straight to the practice, taking the plant material that has been seized with you. Please do not put a muzzle loop on a dog now.

Effective prevention

Cut at the right time eliminates the danger

Except for the seeds, all other parts of the ranunculus are non-toxic to humans and animals. So that you don't have to do without the cheerful yellow blossom festival in spring in the family household, there is an important measure in the care program.

How to do it right:

  • Cut back the shrub immediately after the end of the flowering period
  • meticulously remove all withered flowers
  • do not dispose of clippings in the compost

This also applies to the double-flowering variety Kerria japonica 'Pleniflora'. Although the double flowers do not develop seed pods in spring, the popular hybrid sometimes puts on its flower dress a second time in autumn - this time with simple cup-shaped flowers. If they remain on the branch long enough after pollination, the dark, round fruits with the poisonous seeds will now thrive. If the scissors are used in time, even the Premium Kerrie is not dangerous for your children, dogs and cats.

risk of confusion

Do not confuse ranunculus and ranunculus bush

The popular naming causes confusion in the plant kingdom again and again. This also applies to the ranunculus bush. Since the yellow flowers of a kerrie and a ranunculus are strikingly similar, there is a risk of confusion, at least in the early stages of growth.

The plants popularly known as ranunculus are in fact buttercup plants, which are mostly regarded as weeds. Various species within the Ranunculaceae family present spring and summer with yellow cup-shaped flowers that the untrained observer could mistake for the flowers of a young Kerria japonica.

All parts of the herbaceous buttercup family are poisonous and cause severe irritation even if they come into contact with the skin. Since the very poisonous ranunculus reaches a maximum height of 45-50 cm, it is easy to distinguish it from the golden rose bush, which grows to a height of 150 to 300 cm.

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