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Ranunculus flowers belong to a genus in the Ranunculaceae family. There are about 600 of them including Buttercups, Anemones, Clematis, Delphiniums, Nigella, Lesser Celandine and Helebores.
They are mostly yellow flowers, or white flowers with yellow centres. A few species have red or orange flowers. They usually have five petals, six or more petals, or no petals at all (R. auricomus). They are often very shiny or lustrous as in the beautiful Buttercup.
They may be annuals or herbaceous biennials. Buttercups usually flower in the spring but in some climate zones they may extend into summer. How divine. Living in Australia, I have never seen a buttercup, but I have one in a pendant. But nonetheless, while they may be precious to me, they can be an invasive and poisonous weed in many areas. Very toxic with horrible symptoms for animals and they can cause dermatitis in humans.
Ranunculus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) species including Hebrew Character and Small Angle Shades. Some species are popular ornamental flowers in horticulture, with many cultivars (cultivated varieties) selected for their large and brightly coloured flowers.
R. occidentalis (western buttercup) is a species of buttercup found in the western United States and Canada. Its distribution extends from Alaska through British Columbia and Alberta to central California. The flower can be seen in open meadows, forests, and other generally flat areas up to an elevation of 2,200 metres (7,200 ft). It is thought that native Indians may have used it as a poison.
Deep yellow R. acris.
R. Californicus. Very well ordered and pretty.
As a bridal bouquet.
R. asiaticus is the Persian Buttercup. It comes from the Eastern Mediterranean. This is by far the most popular type ever. This type will grow to about 45 cms in height. These are easy to grow and they are tubers. They have an enormous amount of petals - really beyond counting compared with a Centifolia Rose.
The seeds are sterile because it doesn't need them, growing from underneath via the tuber. To propagate them, it's the usual method of gently dividing them up after each flowering season - or leaving them alone to form groups wherever they choose.
The colours of this striking type of Ranuncula vary from pale pink, lilac, rose and mauve, with even a little yellow. They are used a lot by florists, especially in wedding bouquets.
I grew up with them (in a temperate climate) but never liked them because they had no perfume and I didn't like their roundness. However, I would have loved the single or semi-double types. And I do love the Alpine variety. These remind me of Portulacas.
The beautiful, delicate R. Glacialis below:
Photo credit: Fredrik Lähnn.