Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sweet Little Buttercup... or is it?

Across many lawns and under trees these days I see a cute little yellow flower. Sometimes there is a whole blanket of them covering a large patch of grass. It looks so pretty - a sea of yellow on a spring day!

It's hard not to be seduced by this cute little flower putting on such a spring show, but it can be very invasive! It's called Fig Buttercup or Lesser Celendine (Ranunculus ficaria).

Fig Buttercup has a basal rosette of dark green, shiny, heart shaped leaves and the flowers are a bright yellow with eight petals, borne singly on thin stalks that rise above the leaves.

Fig Buttercup may be confused with Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) which bear a similar resemblance. However, Marsh Marigold has glossy, rounded leaves with 5-9 petaled flowers on stalks that are 8in or more in height. It does not produce tubers or bulblets like Fig Buttercup and therefore, does not form a continuous carpet of growth.

Locally, it turns to brown mush in June before going totally dormant for the season. So while it may be tempting to add this to your garden, it could easily take over. If you really must have it, it's best to keep it where it can be naturalized and allowed to spread freely.


  1. It's pretty. I'll rather have this than my lawn. :)

  2. I have this plant in my garden.I didnt plant it but the previous owners of my house.I agree it it so pretty.I just love it.It is so cheery,just beautiful.It really starts off the colors to come for the summer.So glads its there.

  3. That first photo is so pretty, but I can see where it would easily get out of hand!

  4. How can I completely get rid of it from my lawn?

    1. You can dig it out, but make sure you get all the roots. Or you can just wait a few weeks and it will disappear (going dormant) for the year.


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