|Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens)|
A buttercup is a kind of flower. It has yellow, shiny, petals, and grows wild in lots of different places. Some animals get sick when they eat it, but they do not do that a lot because buttercups taste bad.
Types of buttercup[change | edit source]
Buttercups belong to a plant family named Ranunculaceae. Ranunculaceae is based on the Latin word rānunculus, which means "little frog". Buttercups include a wide variety, grouped by a plant naming system in the genus Ranunculus. Among them are the Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris), Goldilocks Buttercup (R. auricomus), Large White Buttercup (R. platanafolius), Celery-leaved Buttercup (R. sceleratus), Corn Buttercup (R. arvensis), Bulbous Buttercup (R. bulbosus) and Glacial Buttercup (R. glacialis).
Lesser Celandine (R. ficaria), Lesser Spearwort (R. flammula), Greater Spearwort (R. lingua) and the Creeping Buttercup (R. repens) also belong to the buttercup family.
Plants of the commonly named buttercup family grow in many different variations but most can be identified by their yellow cupped flowers and free-growing habit. The plants often climb or sprawl, with leaves arranged in spirals. An observant botanist might notice leaves without stipules and flowers with many stamens.
Folklore[change | edit source]
People sometimes hold a fresh buttercup flower under the chin of a friend or family member. If a yellow reflection from the flower's shiny petals can be seen under the chin, the person is said to "like butter". This custom is still taught to young children and shows how buttercup petals reflect light.
Highlights shining on the reflective petals of the buttercup can be seen in the images at left and above.
Poisonous[change | edit source]
Buttercups are often poisonous. If eaten they have a sour taste, which makes animals less likely to eat them; this defence mechanism improves their survival rate.
Other buttercups[change | edit source]
Some other plants and people are named buttercup, based on the name of the yellow wild flower. These include a type of pumpkin, and the girl's name Buttercup.
Pop culture[change | edit source]
"Build Me Up Buttercup" was the name of a popular song from the 1960's. A cartoon character from the Powerpuff Girls television series was also named Buttercup.
Other websites[change | edit source]
|Wikispecies has information on: Ranunculus.|