Creeping Buttercup Ranunculus repens

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
creeping buttercup


Ranunculus repens, commonly known as creeping buttercup, is a flowering plant that is characterized by its glossy yellow flowers which are typically about an inch across with five petals each, giving them a cup-shaped appearance. These vibrant flowers are set atop a cluster of dark green leaves that are divided into three leaflets with deeply toothed margins, lending a textured look to the foliage. The leaflets may also have a variegated pattern with lighter patches adding to their visual interest. The stems of the creeping buttercup are slender and hairy, and they tend to sprawl along the ground, rooting at intervals, which allows the plant to spread effectively over the area it occupies. This trailing growth habit gives it the 'creeping' aspect of its common name. The stems often form a dense mat and can contribute to the lush greenery in the habitats they thrive in. Creeping buttercup can readily be found in moist environments like meadows or the edges of water bodies, which may highlight its reflective, shiny petals even more. Its overall appearance combines a lush green backdrop with scattered dots of bright yellow, providing a cheerful display when the plant is in bloom.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Creeping Buttercup, Creeping Crowfoot, Sitfast, Butter Daisy, Butter Flower, Crowfoot, Devil's Grass, Gowan, Goldens, Golden Knobs, Kingcup, Twelve Brothers.

    • Common names

      Ranunculus repens var. typicus, Ranunculus repens var. pleniflorus, Ranunculus repens var. anceps, Ranunculus repens var. fallax, Ranunculus repens var. reptabundus.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) contains toxins like ranunculin. When the plant is crushed or chewed, ranunculin is converted into protoanemonin, which can cause irritation and blistering of the skin and mucous membranes. If ingested, the plant can cause pain in the mouth, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases, it can lead to convulsions, paralysis, and even coma. Ingesting creeping buttercup should be avoided due to its toxic properties.

    • To pets

      Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) is also toxic to pets and can cause similar symptoms as in humans. Ingestion can lead to excessive drooling, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness. In severe cases, it may cause seizures, lethargy, or worse if a significant amount is consumed. It is important to prevent pets from ingesting creeping buttercup to avoid these harmful effects.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental value: The Creeping Buttercup, with its bright yellow flowers, is often appreciated for its decorative appeal in gardens and landscapes.
    • Wildlife habitat: Provides food and habitat for a variety of insects, which in turn can attract birds and other wildlife to the area.
    • Soil stabilization: Its dense mat of runners helps to stabilize soil, possibly preventing erosion in certain environments.
    • Pollinator support: The flowers of the Creeping Buttercup are visited by various pollinators including bees, which are vital for the pollination of many other plant species.
    • Ground cover: Can be used to cover bare ground quickly, reducing weed growth due to its aggressive spreading nature.
    • Cultural significance: In some regions, the Creeping Buttercup is part of local folklore and traditions, adding cultural value to the plant.
    • Ecological indicator: Presence of Creeping Buttercup can indicate certain soil conditions, such as poor drainage or high moisture content.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anti-inflammatory: Ranunculus repens has been traditionally used to reduce inflammation.
    • Analgesic: It may have been used to relieve pain in some folk medicine traditions.
    • Antimicrobial: Some sources suggest that it possesses antimicrobial properties.
    • Diuretic: The plant may have been used to increase urine production and relieve fluid retention.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Creeper Buttercup can be used as a natural dye; its flowers, when boiled, can produce a yellow dye suitable for coloring fabrics or crafting materials.
    • It can serve as an indicator plant since Creeper Buttercup often signals compacted or poor-quality soil, guiding groundskeepers on where to focus soil-improvement efforts.
    • The plant has been used in traditional children's games, such as the "buttercup test," which involves reflecting the yellow of the flower onto the skin to "determine" if someone likes butter.
    • Historically, Creeper Buttercup has been used as a part of folklore and superstitions, believed to ward off evil when carried in a pouch.
    • The flowers can be used for decorative purposes in ephemeral art, such as creating natural floral patterns on the ground for celebrations or events.
    • The leaves of Creeper Buttercup can be added to compost as green matter, though care must be taken to not include any seeding parts to prevent its spread.
    • The bright flowers can be floated in water to create ornamental displays for garden ponds or water features.
    • In some areas, the plant is intentionally grown as ground cover in low-traffic areas where its aggressive nature is less problematic.
    • Creeper Buttercup can be used in handcrafts, like pressing its bright yellow flowers for inclusion in nature-inspired crafts or bookmarks.
    • Beekeepers may value patches of creeping buttercup as an early food source for bees when few other flowers are in bloom.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    Creeping Buttercup is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    Creeping Buttercup is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Charm: Ranunculus flowers, also known as Creeping Buttercups, often symbolize charm and attractiveness. Their lush, colorful blooms suggest someone is dazzled by the recipient’s many charms.
    • Radiance: The glossy sheen of Creeping Buttercups' petals represents radiance and glowing presence, capturing the joy and brightness one brings to others' lives.
    • Ingratitude: In Victorian flower language, Creeping Buttercups were sometimes associated with ingratitude or being unthankful, possibly arising from the plant's invasive habits and its ability to overtake other plants' spaces.
    • Childishness: The Creeping Buttercup's playful and innocent appearance can also symbolize a sense of childlike wonder, joy, or the simple pleasures of youth.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every year
Spring-early summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Creeping buttercup should be watered regularly, maintaining moist but not soggy soil conditions. It thrives with consistent moisture, especially during the growing season. A good approach is to check the top inch of soil and water when it begins to feel dry; this might translate to watering once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions. Aim to provide about one gallon of water per square yard of soil each week during periods of drought or high heat. Over-watering can lead to root rot, so it's important to ensure good drainage in the plant's location.

  • sunLight

    Creeping buttercup prefers a spot with full sun to partial shade. Best light conditions for this plant is having access to direct sunlight for at least six hours a day; however, it can tolerate some shade and may even appreciate it in particularly hot climates. Avoid deep shade as this can reduce the vigor and flowering of the plant.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Creeping buttercup can withstand a wide range of temperatures, but it thrives best between 60°F and 75°F. It can survive minimum temperatures down to around 20°F and maximum temperatures up to about 85°F; however, prolonged exposure outside of its ideal temperature range can stress the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    Creeping buttercup benefits from occasional pruning to maintain its shape and encourage healthy growth. Prune any dead or damaged foliage throughout the year to keep the plant looking tidy. The best time for more extensive pruning is in the late winter or early spring before new growth starts, which will also help to invigorate the plant for the upcoming growing season.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Creeping buttercup thrives in moist, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH of around 6.0 to 7.0. A good soil mix for creeping buttercup would consist of equal parts loam, peat, and sharp sand to ensure adequate drainage and fertility. Regularly amending the soil with organic matter can also help maintain the necessary soil conditions.

  • plantRepotting

    Repot creeping buttercups every one to two years to refresh the soil and give the roots new room to grow. Larger clusters can be divided during this time to prevent overcrowding and stimulate healthier growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Creeping buttercup prefers moderate to high humidity levels but is quite adaptable and does not require any special humidity adjustments in most natural environments.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright, indirect light and maintain moist soil.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade, keep soil consistently moist.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens) begins life as a seed, which germinates in spring to early summer when soil moisture and temperature conditions are favorable. The seedling emerges and soon develops a rosette of leaves close to the ground. As the plant grows, it sends out runners (stolons) that touch the ground and take root at the nodes, creating new plantlets. The plant flowers typically from May to August, showing bright yellow, glossy petals that attract pollinators for sexual reproduction. After pollination, the flowers develop into achenes, which are small, dry, hard fruits each containing a single seed. These seeds are dispersed by various means including water, animals, and human activity, and can remain viable in the soil for many years, completing the life cycle when conditions again become suitable for germination.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-early summer

    • Propogation: Creeping buttercup, Ranunculus repens, is typically propagated in the spring or autumn by division or by separating the naturally occurring runners. The most popular method for propagating creeping buttercup is by division. Gardeners divide the plant by gently lifting it from the ground with a shovel, ensuring a good amount of root is attached to each clump. The clump is then carefully pulled apart into smaller pieces, each with roots and shoots. These pieces are immediately replanted in a prepared area of the garden, spaced about 12 inches (approximately 30 centimeters) apart, and watered thoroughly to help establish them. It's essential that the soil remains moist but not waterlogged for the first few weeks as the new plants establish. This technique allows for the quick spread and easy establishment of creeping buttercup in suitable garden conditions.