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Bulbous Buttercup

Ranunculus bulbosus

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
40 centimetres tall
Grassland, meadows, roadsides.

Yellow, 5 petals
5 glossy yellow petals with sepals bent back against the stalks. Up to 3cm wide.
A cluster of achenes, no larger than half a centimetre across.
Long-stalked, 3-lobed and toothed. The central leaflet is long-stalked.
There is no fragrance.
Other Names:
Blister Flower, Bulbous Crowfoot, Butter Daisy, Cuckoo Buds, Early Buttercup, Frog's Foot, Frogwort, Gold Cup, Gowan, Meadowbloom, Pilewort, St Anthony's Turnip, Yellow Weed.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Ranunculus bulbosus, also known as bulbous buttercup or St. Anthony's turnip, 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. bulbosus is a herbaceous perennial 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 medicinal properties and has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory problems and skin conditions. It is also used as a food source and is an important habitat plant for a variety of wildlife species. R. bulbosus 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.


Bulbous Buttercups, also known as Ranunculus bulbosus, is a perennial plant that is native to Europe and Asia. The plant is known for its bright yellow flowers that resemble buttercups and its bulbous root structure.

Bulbous Buttercups can be found growing in a variety of habitats, including meadows, grasslands, and along roadsides. The plant is also commonly found in gardens and is often used as a cut flower.

The flowers of Bulbous Buttercups are typically 2-3 inches wide and have five petals that are deeply divided. The flowers bloom in the spring and early summer, and the plant can reach a height of up to 12 inches.

The leaves of Bulbous Buttercups are dark green and glossy, and are typically 2-4 inches long. The leaves are arranged alternately on the stem and are deeply lobed.

Bulbous Buttercups can be propagated by dividing the bulbs in the fall or by seed. The plant prefers well-drained soil and full sun, but can tolerate partial shade. The plant is tolerant of a wide range of soil types, but prefers sandy or loamy soil.

The plant is considered to be a weed in some areas, and can be difficult to control once established. However, it is also a popular garden plant and can be used in flower beds, rock gardens, and as a ground cover.

In addition to its ornamental value, Bulbous Buttercups have also been used for medicinal purposes. The root of the plant has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including skin conditions, rheumatism, and gout. The plant has also been used as a diuretic and a laxative.

It is important to note that Bulbous Buttercups are toxic if ingested in large quantities. The plant contains a compound called protoanemonin, which can cause skin irritation and stomach upset. It is also toxic to livestock and should be kept away from pastures and hay fields.

Despite its toxic nature, Bulbous Buttercups have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. The plant has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including skin conditions, rheumatism, and gout. The plant has also been used as a diuretic and a laxative.

In recent years, the plant has been used in cosmetics and skincare products. The extract from the bulb of the plant is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.

As a gardener, it's important to be aware of the potential invasive nature of Bulbous Buttercups, as it can spread rapidly and outcompete other plants. In some areas, it is considered a noxious weed and is not recommended for planting. However, if you live in an area where it is not considered invasive, it can be a great addition to your garden.

One way to control the spread of Bulbous Buttercups is to remove the flowers before they have a chance to produce seed. This can be done by deadheading the flowers or cutting the plant back before it goes to seed. Another method of control is to dig up the bulbs and dispose of them properly.

Another way to enjoy this plant without worrying about it becoming invasive is to plant it in pots or container gardens. This way, you can enjoy the beauty of the flowers without the risk of it spreading throughout your garden.

When planting Bulbous Buttercups in your garden, it's important to provide them with the right conditions. They prefer well-drained soil and full sun but can tolerate partial shade. They are also drought tolerant and can handle dry conditions once established.

Overall, Bulbous Buttercups are a beautiful and versatile perennial plant that can be enjoyed in gardens, meadows, and along roadsides. With its bright yellow flowers and glossy green leaves, it is sure to add a splash of color to any landscape. However, it's important to be aware of its invasive nature and take the necessary precautions to control its spread. With proper care and attention, Bulbous Buttercups can be a great addition to your garden.

30 Facts About the Bulbous Buttercup

Here are 30 facts about the Bulbous Buttercup:

  1. Scientific Name: Ranunculus bulbosus is the botanical name for the Bulbous Buttercup.
  2. Family: It belongs to the Ranunculaceae family, which includes many other flowering plants.
  3. Habitat: This species can be found in grasslands, meadows, pastures, and along roadsides.
  4. Native Range: The Bulbous Buttercup is native to Europe and western Asia.
  5. Introduced Species: It has also been introduced and can be found in other parts of the world, including North America.
  6. Appearance: The plant typically grows to a height of 20-50 centimeters (8-20 inches).
  7. Leaves: Its leaves are deeply divided into three to five lobes, and they have a glossy appearance.
  8. Flowers: The flowers are bright yellow with five petals and a glossy texture.
  9. Blooming Season: Bulbous Buttercups typically bloom from late spring to early summer.
  10. Bulbous Base: The name "bulbous" comes from the bulbous base of the plant's stem.
  11. Reproduction: The plant reproduces both by seeds and by forming new bulbs.
  12. Toxicity: All parts of the Bulbous Buttercup are toxic when ingested and can cause irritation.
  13. Grazing Deterrent: Livestock tend to avoid grazing on this plant due to its toxicity.
  14. Medicinal Uses: Some traditional herbal remedies use extracts from this plant for various ailments, but it should be used with caution.
  15. Buttercup Rash: Handling the plant can sometimes cause skin irritation, known as "buttercup rash."
  16. Buttercup Mythology: In folklore, it's said that holding a buttercup under your chin can reveal whether you like butter (if the yellow reflection is visible).
  17. Naturalized Species: In many regions, the Bulbous Buttercup has become a naturalized and sometimes invasive species.
  18. Competition: Invasive populations can outcompete native plants in some areas.
  19. Seed Production: Each plant can produce thousands of seeds, contributing to its invasive potential.
  20. Pollinators: It attracts various pollinators, including bees and butterflies.
  21. Allelopathic: Some studies suggest that Bulbous Buttercups may produce chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants (allelopathy).
  22. Preferred Soil: They thrive in moist, well-drained soils.
  23. Herbaceous Perennial: Bulbous Buttercups are herbaceous perennials, meaning they die back in the winter and regrow in the spring.
  24. Distribution: This species has a wide distribution in Europe, from the British Isles to Russia.
  25. Invasive in North America: In North America, it's considered invasive in some regions, particularly in the Pacific Northwest.
  26. Ecological Impact: Invasive populations can alter native ecosystems and reduce biodiversity.
  27. Conservation Concern: In some areas, the Bulbous Buttercup is considered a concern for native plant conservation efforts.
  28. Seed Dispersal: Seeds are primarily dispersed by wind, water, and animals.
  29. Adaptability: It can tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions, making it a successful invader.
  30. Management: Controlling its spread often requires a combination of physical removal, herbicides, and preventive measures.


Bulbous Buttercup filmed at Formby, Lancashire on the 8th May 2023.


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