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Creeping Buttercup

Ranunculus repens

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
45 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, lawns, parks, wasteland, woodland.

Yellow, 5 petals
5 glossy yellow petals on furrowed stalks, up to 3cm wide and with spreading sepals.
A cluster of achenes, no larger than half a centimetre across.
Dark green and triangular-shaped with 3 deeply cut lobes, the end lobe being long-stalked.
No fragrance.
Other Names:
Crazy Moir, Creeping Crowfoot, Creeping Meadow Buttercup, Crowpeckle, Devil's Guts, Goldweed, Granny Threads, Ram's Claws, Sitfast, Soldier Buttons, Tether-toad, Yellow Cups.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Ranunculus repens, also known as creeping buttercup or 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. repens 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 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. repens 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.


Creeping Buttercups, also known as Ranunculus repens, are a common weed found in lawns and gardens. They have bright yellow flowers that bloom in the spring and early summer, and can quickly spread to take over large areas if not controlled.

The leaves of Creeping Buttercups are smooth and glossy, and are arranged in a rosette pattern. The flowers are typically about 1-2 inches in diameter, and have five petals. They are often mistaken for wildflowers, but their invasive nature makes them a nuisance in gardens and lawns.

The most effective way to control Creeping Buttercups is to prevent them from establishing in the first place. This can be done by regularly mowing the lawn, as the buttercups will not be able to take root if the leaves are constantly being cut off. Additionally, keeping a thick and healthy lawn will help to crowd out the buttercups and make it difficult for them to establish.

If buttercups have already taken root, they can be pulled by hand or treated with a weed killer. However, it is important to use a weed killer that is safe for use on lawns and gardens, as some chemicals can damage or kill desirable plants. Additionally, it is important to carefully follow the instructions on the weed killer to avoid overuse and potential harm to the environment.

Another method for controlling Creeping Buttercups is through the use of mulch or ground cover plants. These will help to shade out the buttercups, making it difficult for them to receive enough sunlight to grow. Additionally, they will help to keep the soil moist and cool, which will make it difficult for the buttercups to establish.

It is also important to note that Creeping Buttercups are toxic to animals if ingested in large quantities, so it is important to keep them away from grazing areas for livestock. The toxic compounds in the plant can cause damage to the liver and kidneys, and can even be fatal in severe cases.

One way to prevent the spread of Creeping Buttercups is to be mindful of where they are growing and to not let them go to seed. Buttercups reproduce by seed, so if they are allowed to seed, they will continue to spread and multiply.

Another way to prevent the spread of Creeping Buttercups is to use a technique called “root cutting”. This method involves cutting the plant off at the base of the stem and removing as much of the root as possible. This can be done by using a sharp spade or a weed puller tool. It is important to remove as much of the root as possible so that the plant does not re-grow.

In addition, Regularly monitoring your lawn and garden for the presence of creeping buttercups, and removing them as soon as they are spotted, is a good way to keep them from spreading.

Another effective way to control Creeping Buttercups is through the use of organic methods. For example, using a solution of vinegar and water as a natural weed killer can be effective in killing the plant. Similarly, boiling water can also be used to kill the buttercups. However, it is important to be careful when using these methods as they can also damage or kill surrounding plants if not used properly.

Another organic method for controlling Creeping Buttercups is to use a thick layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips, straw or leaves, around the base of the plant. This will help to suffocate the buttercups and prevent them from growing.

Cover cropping is also an effective organic method of controlling Creeping Buttercups. This method involves planting a cover crop, such as clover or rye grass, over the area where the buttercups are growing. The cover crop will help to shade out the buttercups, preventing them from receiving enough sunlight to grow.

Finally, it is important to keep in mind that persistent and consistent efforts are necessary to effectively control Creeping Buttercups. While one or two methods may be effective in the short term, it is essential to implement a combination of control measures over a period of time to completely eradicate the problem.

In conclusion, Creeping Buttercups can be a nuisance in lawns and gardens, but with proper control measures, they can be kept under control. Organic methods such as vinegar solution, boiling water, organic mulch, cover cropping, and a combination of other control measures are an effective way to control and prevent the growth of Creeping Buttercups. Remember, consistent and persistent efforts are necessary to completely eradicate the problem.


Creeping Buttercup filmed in Chorley, Lancashire on the 9th July 2022.


Music credits
Awkward Meeting - Supernatural Haunting by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

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