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24 Different Types of Ranunculus Plus Interesting Facts

A field of ranunculus flowers in different colors.

Ranunculus flowers have over 600 species, the most common of which is the Persian ranunculus. It has paper-thin petals and produces various colors, including white, pink, yellow, orange and red. As cut flowers, they can stay fresh for up to a week after being cut.

The flower’s name comes from the Latin words rana and unculus, meaning “frog” and “little,” respectively. This is because the flowers grow on streams and bloomed on springtime just as frogs appeared on the same season.



In stunning colors of bright-yellow and creamy rose-apricot, this flower can warm up any garden, regardless of its size or what else is planted in it. If planted in a sheltered place that stays relatively cool, Accolade can bloom as long as three weeks, and they are head-turners that will always attract attention and make people take notice.

Amandine Rose

The Amandine Rose is one of Holland’s most successful and popular exports. Looking like a large, rose-pink rose, it has many ruffled layers and prefers cool Spring weather. It has many cultivars, and it is a great flower to place in your garden if you want a lovely focal point.


Bloomingdale ranunculus

With lavish, ruffled petals forming bowl-shaped flowers with many layers, these look as though there are petals stacked on top of one another. One of the tallest varieties of butter cups, they can grow up to 6 inches or more in height, and they come in a wide variety of colors, including many pastel colors and even jewel tones. Because they look so good in vases and containers, they are often grown for the purpose of being able to cut them.

Bulbous Buttercup (Ranunculus bulbosus)

Bulbous buttercup

Similar to the creeping buttercups, the Bulbous buttercup has a bigger, rounder base and grows up to roughly 16 inches in height. With stalkless foliage, this type of buttercup has flowers consisting of five bright-yellow petals. It is able to grow well in dry grassland, and you can find them growing freely in pastures, church yards, meadows, and on sand dunes. They are common in England and Scotland, and they thrive in lime-rich soils.

Cloni Dark Orange

Resembling English roses and containing many layers of large, beautiful petals, the Cloni Dark Orange can brighten up any rainy day. One variety is made in Italy under conditions that must meet certain strict requirements, which means each bulb is high in quality and has the same consistency as the others.

Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens)

Creeping buttercup

This type of buttercup grows up to 12 inches high and up to 2 feet in width. When planted in moist and shady areas it blooms quickly, and it blooms in April and May. The leaves of the creeping buttercup are shaped like snowflakes and have a gold or lime-green color. The petals are bright-yellow in color and do well as groundcovers if you live in zones 4-9. It is a low-growing plant that is quite striking and noticeable.

Early Buttercup (Ranunculus fascicularis)

Also called the Prairie or Tufted buttercup, this flower blooms in April and May, and it grows no more than 1 foot in height. Although it grows well in many different lighting conditions, it always prefers moist and well-drained soil. Throughout the American Midwest and South, the Early buttercup grows naturally in areas such as prairies and dry woods, and it looks beautiful in perennial flowerbeds and wildflower gardens. Caution is recommended when handling the plant, as it can cause gastrointestinal distress if ingested and skin irritations when handled improperly or for too long.

Early Wood Buttercup (Ranunculus abortivus)

This flower is also called the Kidney-Leaf or Little-Leaf buttercup and it thrives all across the United States in moist woodland areas. With kidney-shaped leaves and yellow flowers that are less showy than other types of buttercups, it grows up to 2 feet in height and blooms from April to July. The flower has split stems, prefers the shade and soil that is rich and moist, and exudes a sap that can cause allergy-like skin irritations for some people. The Early Wood buttercup is frequently used in areas such as flowerbeds, wildflower gardens, and open woodland areas.

Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)

Lesser celandine ranunculus

Best when grown in zones 4-8, this flower does very well in moist but well-drained soil and in full sun. It grows up to 9 inches high and up to 12 inches in width, making it a fairly low-growing plant, and it sometimes grows so dense that it prohibits the growth of other plants. From March through May, beautiful yellow blooms appear, but the plants go dormant during the Summer months. The Lesser Celandine looks beautiful as a groundcover, especially in very open areas.


Lyallii ranunculus

A native of New Zealand, this plant has cheery white petals and a bright-yellow center, and they can grow up to 3 feet tall. Their leaves resemble lily pads and are large, round, and grass-green, making them the perfect complement to the beautiful white blooms. It is especially important for them to be in soil that is very well-drained, and you can find them in open sites, such as rocky crevices, as long as the soil can drain and the summers are relatively cool.


Blooming up to two weeks earlier than most other buttercups, this flower is perfect if you’re looking for an early-Spring bloom that is eye-catching and showy. It has deep-green leaves and looks great in containers, mainly because its shape is so dense and full.

Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris)

Meadow buttercup

Often called the Tall buttercup, this flower can grow up to 3 feet in height. It is a perennial rootstock that is upright and hairy. Its basal leaves are long and divided into 3 to 7 toothed and deeply cut lobes, making it quite unique. The upper part of the stalk has no teeth, however, and the flowers – which bloom from May to August – are approximately one inch wide and consist of five bright-yellow petals. This is the second most common type of buttercup in the United States, and the Winter frost seems to have no negative effect on this type of flower. However, like other buttercups, it is best to use caution with them, because getting them next to your skin can cause irritations and even blisters. Found in damp meadows and open woods, this type of buttercup is attractive to bees and other pollinating insects, which is one of its many positive qualities.

Persian Buttercup (Ranunculus asiaticus)

Persian buttercup

Although it is native to Europe and Asia, the Persian buttercup does well in the United States zones 8-10. Starting with a bulb and getting up to 2 feet in height and 2 feet in width, the flower blooms in May and June, and it has poppy-like petals that come in colors such as purple, white, pink, red, and white. The leaves are green and look similar to parsley, and it does well in full sun and soil that is moist but well-drained. They also look beautiful in containers, borders, and flowerbeds.

Purple Picotee

Like its name implies, this flower is bright-white in color and outlined in violet-purple. Their ruffled, feathery petals are extremely elegant, and like other buttercups, they need moist, well-drained soil and plenty of sun or partial shade in order to grow and thrive. They also look beautiful when paired with flowers such as larkspur, peonies, or lisianthus blossoms. A truly striking flower that you will be happy to show off to your friends.

Ranunculus aconitifolius

Ranunculus aconitifolius

With five elegant white petals and a spiky yellow center, these buttercups bloom in May but become dormant once Summer arrives. They do best in moist conditions and full sun or partial shade, and if you intersperse these plants with marker plants, you can prevent people from accidentally digging them up when weeding.

Ranunculus alpestris

The plants are 2 inches tall and consist of bright-white petals and golden-yellow centers, and they are just as striking as daisies and other showy flowers. They bloom abundantly in the Spring and occasionally throughout the entire season, and they make a perfect addition to any raised bed or landscape.

Ranunculus cortusifolius

Ranunculus cortusifolius

These flowers have large, bright-yellow petals that look like a tropical hibiscus, with large yellow centers as an accent. They only require average moisture and bright shady areas, so they are easy to grow, and if you live in zone 9, you can grow them as a perennial. Blooming in Spring, their blooms usually last a full 3 months, and when they’re dormant they prefer dry conditions.

Ranunculus crenatus

This type of buttercup is not very well-known, but it has small, single-petaled white flowers and leaves that are round, small, and bright-green in color. Its roots spread rapidly, and if you want an attractive, flowering groundcover, this is one you should consider using. Because of beautiful foliage and a widely spreading habit, the Ranunculus crenatus is popular with modern gardeners.

Ranunculus nivalis

Also called a Snow buttercup, this flower has delicate petals that curve inwards and are bright-yellow in color with green centers. They are most popular in Arctic regions, including Alaska, and their overlapping petals are truly eye-catching.

Rhone Pink

Perfect for bridal bouquets, this flower is a delicate pink and has many layers. It is imported from Japan and is a designer flower, which is one of the reasons it is commonly found in large commercial floral outlets. The petals often have several lime-green layers, which perfectly complement the soft-pink color in the rest of the flower.

Silver Shamrocks

Also called Summer buttercups or the Shamrock, this buttercup has pink-and-white petals sitting atop silvery foliage, and they get only around 3 inches tall. Growing best in full sun or partial shade, the buttercup is easy to grow and deer-resistant. It looks great in vases or containers, and it makes a beautiful groundcover as well.


With long, upright stems that are thin and yellow-green in color, the Tango looks similar to a rose with its layers of bright red-orange petals. Unlike roses, buttercups need no pesticides, are easy to take care of, and look just as beautiful when all is said and done.


The Tecolote has flowers that are smaller than many other varieties, and it comes in numerous colors. In fact, many different colors can show up from just one bulb, making it the perfect flower to choose if you want a lot of different colors and shades in your garden. Averaging 3 to 5 inches in height, the flowers can even be bi-colored and have edges that are a different color than the flower itself. It also has straight, upright stems that perfectly complement the flowers, making for a truly striking plant.

Winter Buttercups

With bright golden-yellow petals and bright-green spikey leaves, these flowers are easy to grow, deer-resistant, and do best in zones 2-8. They grow up to 4 inches tall, and they do best in partial shade or full sun. If your soil is rich with humus, they do especially well, and it is best to plant them where there is plenty of room to grow, in part because they naturalize and re-seed easily. They are low-maintenance and bloom in early-Spring.

Facts about Buttercups

  • Although they are associated with very small flowers, buttercups can get up to 16 inches in height.
  • Their petals have a lustrous quality thanks to a layer of reflective cells found beneath the cells of the petals. This is why buttercup petals look shiny and have a shimmery quality.
  • Most buttercups bloom in April and May, although some of them bloom throughout the Summer months.
  • Buttercups have a spot of nectar at the bottom of their petals, which attracts insects and facilitates pollination. This characteristic is unique, because it cannot be found in any other yellow plant out there.
  • Although most buttercups are bright-yellow in color – hence their name – they can also be found in colors such as white, orange, or red.
  • For both cattle and humans, every part of a buttercup is poisonous and should be avoided. You should never ingest any part of a buttercup and in fact, some of them are actually toxic, causing severe blistering and skin irritations from simply touching them. If the flowers are dried, the toxic qualities go away, meaning you can handle them without worrying about any ill effects.
  • It was once believed that the yellow color of butter comes from cows consuming large amounts of buttercups, but since these flowers are toxic to cattle, this is not true.