Bulbous Buttercup Ranunculus bulbosa

Scientific Name: Ranunculus bulbosa (Ranunculaceae).

English Name: Bulbous Buttercup; Saint Anthony's Turnip; Goldcup; Frogs-foot (Buttercup family).

French Name: Renoncule bulbeuse (='bulbous ranunculus'); Rave-de-saint-Antoine ('Saint Anthony's swollen root vegetable').

5 Key Characters:
  • glossy yellow flowers with 5-7 petals.
  • three lobed lower leaves.
  • 20-60 cm tall.
  • distinctive reflexed (bent back) sepals.
  • grows from a corm (swollen underground stem).

Lookalikes: Meadow Buttercup R. acris and Creeping Buttercup R. repens, neither of which have the reflexed sepals.

Habitat: Lawns, pasture, fields, hay meadows, grassy banks. Favours nutrient-poor, well drained soil, dislikes crops and improved grassland.

Flowering Period: April-May-June-July.

Status: Abundant. Poisonous when fresh but the toxin is destroyed if the plant is dried (eg in hay).

References and Further Reading: A blog post on Days on the Claise which describes how to use buttercups to calculate the age of a grassland.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

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