Alphabetical Plant Listing

Ranunculus californicus (California Buttercup)

California Buttercup, Ranunculus californicus var. austromontanus, Ranunculus californicus var. cuneatus, Ranunculus californicus var. gratus, Ranunculus californicus var. rugulosus, Ranunculus californicus var. typicus, Ranunculus rugulosus


A welcomed harbinger of spring, Ranunculus californicus (California Buttercup) is a cheery perennial plant prized for its shiny, deep yellow flowers, 3/4 in. (2 cm), from late winter to spring. Each flower features 7 to 22 elliptic, overlapping petals surrounding a bouquet of yellow stamens. Some flowers appear double due to a profusion of petals. Borne on slender stalks, they float above the foliage of palmately lobed and compound leaves (reminiscent of the delphinium leaves). Attractive to a variety of insects, including bees and butterflies, California Buttercup lightens up the spring landscape. The plant goes dormant in summer as the soil begins to dry, leaving behind lots of viable seeds. Native to California, Oregon, some Pacific coast islands and Baja California, California Buttercup is found in many habitats, including chaparral and woodlands. It is a beautiful addition to perennial borders, meadows or woodland gardens. Buttercups are not only worthy cut flowers but also a good source of nutrition. Native Americans cooked the seeds and then ground the seeds into an edible meal that is said to taste like popcorn.

  • Grows up to 6-24 in. tall (15-60 cm) and 6 in. wide (15 cm). This plant readily self-seeds in the garden.
  • Performs best in full sun to part shade in well-drained soils. Likes seasonal moisture and summer drought. Do not provide water in summer once established.
  • No serious pest or disease issues.
  • Cut plant to the ground as it goes dormant in summer.
  • Propagate by seed. No special treatment is needed.
  • Toxic to dogs, toxic to cats, toxic to horses.
  • Ranunculus californicus is distributed across many habitats of California, north into Oregon and south into Baja California. Its reported locations include the islands between British Columbia and Washington, the Channel Islands of California, and the Sierra Nevada.

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Requirements

Hardiness 6 – 10
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Ranunculus
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Winter
Height 6" – 2' (15cm – 60cm)
Spread 4" – 6" (10cm – 15cm)
Spacing 6" (15cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, California, Pacific Northwest, Oregon, Washington
Tolerance Drought
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds and Borders
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow

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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 6 – 10
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Ranunculus
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Winter
Height 6" – 2' (15cm – 60cm)
Spread 4" – 6" (10cm – 15cm)
Spacing 6" (15cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, California, Pacific Northwest, Oregon, Washington
Tolerance Drought
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds and Borders
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow

Guides with Ranunculus

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