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Sweet Little Buttercup...right?

This time of year I come across many lawns covered in these cheery yellow flowers. Sometimes there is a whole blanket of them covering a large patch of grass. It looks so bright and pretty - a sea of yellow on a spring day! Right??

Fig Buttercup or Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)

It's hard not to be seduced by this cute little flower putting on such a spring show, but before you run out to the garden center and try to find it, beware. It is very invasive!

This plant is called Fig Buttercup or Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria).

Fig Buttercup has a basal rosette (an arrangement of leaves radiating from the base of the stem and usually placed close to the ground) of dark green, shiny, kidney shaped leaves. These leaves emerge from small bulblets in late winter. By the end of March-early April, the bright yellow flowers appear, typically 3 inches in size. The flowers have 7-12 narrow and shiny petals, each flower growing on a single thin stem that rises above the leaves.

Fig Buttercup is often confused with Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) which bears a similar resemblance. However, Marsh Marigold has smooth, heart-shaped leaves and 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. Marsh Marigold also blooms later than Fig Buttercup - typically late April to June.

By June, Fig Buttercup goes dormant and will completely disappear above ground. It will not be seen until the following spring. You will probably forget about it until next March! So while it may be tempting to add this to your garden or lawn, it can very easily and quickly take over. If you don't enjoy them, try to dig out the plant, capturing every bit of the bulb and discard - do not compost. Personally, I enjoy them on my neighbors lawn, just not my own.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts - comment below!


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