Desert Buttercup Ranunculus calandrinioides

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
high alpine buttercup


Ranunculus calandrinioides, more commonly known as buttercup, boasts a striking appearance often characterized by its bright, glossy yellow flowers. Each flower typically has multiple delicate petals that fan out from a central point, resembling a cup shape which is a hallmark of the buttercup family. The flowers are borne above the foliage on slender stalks, gracefully nodding with the breeze. The leaves of this buttercup can vary in shape, but they are generally lush green, sometimes with a slightly waxy texture, forming a basal clump. The foliage may be lobed or separated into leaflets, depending on the variety, and it often forms a mound from which the flower stems emerge. The engaging contrast between the dark green leaves and the sunny flowers creates an eye-catching display in their natural setting.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Mount Atlas Daisy, Moroccan Buttercup

    • Common names

      Ranunculoides calandrinioides, Ceratocephala calandrinioides.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant in question, commonly known as Ranunculus or buttercup, can be toxic to humans if ingested. The toxicity is due to the presence of protoanemonin, a compound that is released when the plant’s tissues are crushed or chewed. Symptoms of poisoning can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and blistering of the mouth or throat. Severe cases could potentially lead to convulsions, paralysis, or even be fatal if enough plant material is ingested. It is generally advised to avoid consuming any part of the buttercup plant.

    • To pets

      Similar to humans, the buttercup plant is toxic to pets. The Ranunculus species contains protoanemonin, which can be poisonous to animals if ingested. Pets may exhibit symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain after eating parts of the plant. In severe cases, ingestion can lead to tremors, seizures, or complications that could be life-threatening. It is important to prevent pets from ingesting any part of the buttercup plant to avoid these potential health issues.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      0.5 feet [15 cm]

    • Spread

      0.5 feet [15 cm]

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: Ranunculus calandrinioides, commonly known as desert buttercup, adds visual appeal to gardens with its bright, yellow flowers.
    • Drought Resistance: Being well-adapted to dry conditions, it requires minimal watering once established, making it suitable for xeriscaping.
    • Low Maintenance: This plant typically requires little care, making it a good choice for gardeners seeking low-effort landscaping options.
    • Soil Stabilization: The root system of the desert buttercup can help stabilize soil and prevent erosion in arid environments.
    • Pollinator Attraction: The flowers attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, contributing to the health of the local ecosystem.
    • Seasonal Interest: It provides seasonal interest in the garden, especially in spring when it blooms.
    • Adaptability: Desert buttercup can thrive in a variety of soil types as long as they are well-drained.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • As a natural pest repellent: Ranunculus calandrinioides, commonly known as 'Hairy Buttercup,' can be planted around vegetable gardens to deter certain insects due to its natural acrid components.
    • In companion planting: The Hairy Buttercup may be used in companion planting strategies to enhance the growth of other plant species, potentially due to its impact on nearby soil conditions.
    • As a dye source: The pigments in Hairy Buttercup flowers have been used traditionally to produce yellow dyes for coloring textiles.
    • Educational tool: Hairy Buttercup can be used in botanical studies and educational programs to demonstrate the adaptability of plants to harsh, rocky environments.
    • Culinary decoration: Although not edible, the bright yellow flowers of Ranunculus calandrinioides can be used to garnish and decorate food plates.
    • Photography subject: Due to their vibrant flowers and interesting growing habitats, Hairy Buttercups can provide a unique subject for nature photographers.
    • Crafts and dried flower arrangements: Ranunculus calandrinioides can be dried and used in floral crafts, wreaths, and long-lasting arrangements.
    • Garden design and aesthetics: Hairy Buttercup's distinctive look can be incorporated into rock gardens and alpine garden designs for visual interest.
    • Soil erosion control: The plant's ability to grow in rocky areas makes it potentially useful in landscaping to help control soil erosion on slopes.
    • Tattoo inspiration: The distinctive shape and color of the Hairy Buttercup can serve as inspiration for botanical-themed tattoos and art.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Ranunculus is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Ranunculus is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Charm and Attraction: The Ranunculus, commonly known as the Buttercup, is often associated with charm and attraction due to its bright, shiny petals reminiscent of a polished mirror, drawing people towards its beauty.
    • Radiance and Dazzle: The glossy appearance of the Buttercup's petals symbolizes radiance and the power to dazzle, capturing the essence of someone's glowing personality or bewitching smile.
    • Innocence and Childlike Wonder: The small, delicate nature of the Buttercup often represents innocence and a sense of childlike wonder, harking back to the game of holding a buttercup under one's chin to catch the reflection of gold, indicating a fondness for butter.
    • Humble Gratitude: The unassuming nature of the Buttercup, which often grows in fields and meadows without demanding attention, can symbolize humble gratitude and the quiet thankfulness for small joys and pleasures.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every year
Spring-Early Summer
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    The Hairy Buttercup should be watered regularly, aiming to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. It’s generally recommended to water this plant once a week with about 1-2 inches of water, depending on the climate and the season. During the hotter seasons or in dryer climates, you may need to water more frequently, while during the cooler months or in humid environments, less water may be required. It is essential to avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot. Always check the top inch of soil for dryness before watering again.

  • sunLight

    Hairy Buttercup thrives in full sun to partial shade. The ideal spot for this plant would be where it can receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. It also performs well in a location that offers morning sun and afternoon shade, particularly in regions with very hot summers. Avoid deep shade, as insufficient light can lead to poor flowering and leggy growth.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Hairy Buttercup prefers moderate temperature conditions and can typically handle temperatures between 32°F to 86°F. The ideal temperature range for this plant to flourish is between 50°F and 75°F. It is not frost-tolerant, so it’s important to protect it from freezing conditions and provide insulation or bring indoors if necessary during cold snaps.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Hairy Buttercup is essential for removing dead or damaged foliage and encouraging bushier growth. Prune lightly after flowering to maintain its shape and health. Annually, at the end of the blooming season, cut back the spent flowers and any excess growth. This timing also helps to prepare the plant for the next growing season and can stimulate new blooms.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Hairy Buttercup requires a well-draining soil mix rich in organic matter with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5 for optimal growth. A combination of one part potting soil, one part peat, and one part perlite or sand can make for an ideal soil mixture ensuring proper moisture retention and aeration.

  • plantRepotting

    Hairy Buttercup should be repotted every 1 to 2 years. It is best to repot in the spring before new growth starts, using the next size up pot to allow for growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Hairy Buttercup grows best in moderate humidity levels but is quite adaptable; however, it should not be placed in an excessively dry environment.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright indirect light, moderate humidity, and proper potting mix.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial sun, use well-draining soil, and protect from harsh weather.

    • Hardiness zone

      7-10 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Ranunculus calandrinioides, commonly known as the Buttercup, starts its life cycle as a seed, which, upon landing in a suitable moist environment, will germinate when conditions are right, usually in early spring. Following germination, the seedling emerges and develops into a rosette of leaves at the soil surface while roots establish themselves in the ground. As the plant matures, it grows upright stems and produces distinctive glossy yellow flowers that are typical of buttercups. After pollination, which is aided by insects attracted to the flowers' nectar and bright coloration, the flowers develop into fruit that contains multiple achene-type seeds. Once these seeds are dispersed by wind, water, or animal activity, they fall to the ground to begin the next generation. The plant may also propagate vegetatively through its roots or stems but completes its cycle when the conditions turn unfavorable, and the above-ground parts die back, with the plant surviving underground until the next favorable season.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Propogation: The buttercup, whose scientific name is Ranunculus calandrinioides, is commonly propagated during the cool seasons of fall or early spring when temperatures are mild and conducive for root growth. One popular method of propagation is by dividing the clumps of tubers. Once the plant has become dormant and the foliage has died back, the gardener can gently lift the clump out of the ground with a spade or fork. After carefully brushing off excess soil, the tubers can be divided by hand, ensuring each division has at least one eye or growth point. These sections are then replanted at a depth of about 2 inches (5 cm), spaced approximately 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) apart, in well-drained soil with some exposure to sunlight. The soil around the new plantings is pressed down firmly and watered in to establish the transplants. This division method allows for an effective and relatively quick increase of buttercup plants in a garden setting.