Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris) | Turf Online Knowledge Base

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Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris)

Key facts about Meadow Buttercup

  • Height: 30-90cm
  • Flowering Time: May-October
  • Flower colour: Bright Yellow
  • Growth habit: Upright perennial plant
  • Habitat: Unimproved hay meadows and water meadows, also dune grasslands, mountainsides and rock ledges
  • Appears in: Floral Focus Meadowmat

Meadowmat for Birds and Bees

Traditional Meadowmat

Low growing species rich Meadowmat

Woodland Shade Meadowmat 

What do Meadow Buttercups look like?

meadow buttercup in field of cows

Most people can recognise members of the buttercup family but telling one from another is quite an art.  Meadow buttercup of course has the distinctive bright yellow flowers that you’d expect. It has smooth, hairless stems that branch to hold several nodding heads on each plant. This is the tallest buttercup in the UK.

Where to use Meadow Buttercup

It’s not by accident that Meadow Buttercup pops up in the species list for most of types of Meadowmat. It’s an extremely versatile little plant with a happy disposition that brings a smile to any face – even on an overcast day. As its name suggests, this particular wildflower has adapted itself to the lifecycle of the meadow. Meadow Buttercup likes being mown in summer and then being left more or less undisturbed for the rest of the year.

Interestingly, the leaves and flowers of Meadow Buttercup taste bitter to protect them from being eaten alive by cattle, sheep or horses. Once cut and dried however, the plant is more palatable and farmers are quite happy for it to appear in a hay crop.

There are lots of medicinal uses for Meadow Buttercup but be careful – as with most medicines it can be quite toxic. When crushed the leaves and flowers  make an excellent poultice. Apply it to the chest to relieve a cold or pop it onto wounds to ward off infection. Tibetan herbalists use Meadow Buttercup to treat tumors. Fresh leaves can be used as a rubefacient to help treat rheumatism (rubefacient increases blood flow to an area and creates warmth).

For more information about wildflowers and how to grow them, take a look at our knowledge base.

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