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Corn Buttercup

Ranunculus arvensis

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall

Yellow, 5 petals
Flowers are not typical looking for a species of buttercup. Corn Buttercup is similar in appearance to Small-flowered Buttercup (Ranunculus parviflorus) but has larger flowers (4 to 12mm in size) and narrower, more erect sepals.
The fruit is an achene.
An annual cornfield weed similar in appearance to Small-flowered Buttercup (Ranunculus parviflorus). Corn Buttercup has deeper cut leaf-lobes.
Other Names:
Cornfield Crowfoot, Devil on Both Sides, Devil-on-all-sides, Devil's Claws, Devil's Coach Wheel, Devil's Curry Comb, Field Buttercup, Hedgehog, Hellweed, Hungerweed, Scratch Bur, Starve-acre.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Ranunculus arvensis, also known as corn buttercup or field buttercup, is a species of flowering plant in the family Ranunculaceae. It is native to Europe and is commonly found in grassland, meadows, and pastures. R. arvensis is a herbaceous annual that grows to a height of up to 30 centimeters. It has long, narrow, green leaves and small, yellow or orange flowers that bloom in the spring and summer. The plant is valued for its ornamental value and is commonly grown in gardens and parks. It is also used as a food source and is an important habitat plant for a variety of wildlife species. R. arvensis is known for its ability to tolerate a wide range of growing conditions and is resistant to pests and diseases. However, it can be toxic to livestock if ingested in large quantities.


Corn Buttercup (Ranunculus arvensis) is a flowering plant species native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. This herbaceous perennial is commonly found in grasslands, cultivated fields, and along roadsides.

The Corn Buttercup is named after its bright yellow, cup-shaped flowers that bloom in the spring and summer. The flowers sit on top of long stems and have multiple layers of petals. They are often used as a food source for pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

The plant is known for its ability to grow in a variety of soil types and in both sunny and partially shady conditions. It is also highly adaptable and can grow in disturbed and agricultural areas, which is why it is often considered a weed.

Despite its ability to grow in a wide range of conditions, the Corn Buttercup is not without its challenges. The plant is toxic to livestock, especially horses, and can cause skin irritation for humans when handled. This has led to efforts to control its spread in some areas, such as using mowing or herbicides.

In the world of botany, the Corn Buttercup is considered a valuable species for its evolutionary significance. It is closely related to other species of Ranunculus and has provided insights into the evolution of flower shape and color in the Ranunculus family.

Overall, the Corn Buttercup is a vibrant and versatile plant species with a long history of human and wildlife interactions. Whether appreciated for its beauty, study, or challenge, the Corn Buttercup is a species that is sure to make its mark in the world of botany.

In addition to its ornamental and botanical importance, the Corn Buttercup has been used for medicinal purposes in traditional folk remedies for centuries. The plant contains several compounds with potential medicinal properties, including ranunculin and protoanemonin.

Traditional uses of Corn Buttercup include treatment of skin conditions such as eczema, wounds, and infections. The plant's anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties are thought to be responsible for these effects. However, it is important to note that the plant is highly toxic when ingested, and it should not be used as a medicinal treatment without the guidance of a healthcare professional.

The Corn Buttercup is also a popular subject in gardening and horticulture. Its bright yellow flowers make it a popular choice for garden borders, meadows, and wildflower gardens. Its adaptability and ease of care make it a great option for novice gardeners, and its long bloom time provides a long-lasting source of color in the garden.

The Corn Buttercup is a hardy plant that can grow in a range of soils, from sandy to clay soils. It prefers well-drained soils, but it can tolerate waterlogged conditions for short periods. The plant can also tolerate a wide range of temperatures and is therefore suitable for growing in a variety of climates.

One of the most notable features of the Corn Buttercup is its bright yellow flowers. The flowers are typically 2-3 cm in diameter and are composed of multiple layers of petals that form a cup shape. The flowers are produced on long stems that can reach up to 60 cm in height, making the Corn Buttercup an attractive addition to any garden or meadow.

In addition to its ornamental value, the Corn Buttercup is an important food source for a variety of wildlife species, including bees, butterflies, and other insects. The nectar and pollen produced by the flowers provide an important source of food for these species, especially during the spring and summer when other food sources may be scarce.

The Corn Buttercup is also a valuable plant for the ecosystem as it is a pioneer species, meaning it is often one of the first plants to colonize disturbed or newly created habitats. This allows the plant to play an important role in the process of succession, providing shelter and food for other species and helping to establish a diverse and thriving ecosystem.

In conclusion, the Corn Buttercup is a versatile and hardy plant that has a range of benefits for the ecosystem, wildlife, and human culture. Whether appreciated for its ornamental value, utilized as a food source for wildlife, or valued for its role in the ecosystem, the Corn Buttercup is a species that is sure to make a lasting impact.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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