Early Buttercup

Early Buttercup

Botanical Name: Ranunculus fascicularis

Height: about 10 cm.

Bloom Time: May

Growing Conditions: Full sun. Calcareous soil. Do not crowd with taller neighbours. Early Buttercup will go dormant after its seeds have ripened but will re-emerge in late summer.

Ottawa Valley or Eastern Ontario seed source: Yes.

Wildlife Benefits: The early bloom time is of great benefit to emerging pollinators. “The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract primarily bees and Syrphid flies. Bee visitors of Early Buttercup’s flowers include honeybees, Little Carpenter bees (Ceratina spp.), Cuckoo bees (Nomada spp.), Mason bees (Osmia spp.), Halictid bees (Halictus spp., Lasioglossum spp., & others), and Andrenid bees (Andrena spp.). Less common visitors of the flowers include butterflies, skippers, and miscellaneous flies (other than Syrphid).” Illinois Wildflowers

Remarks: I am delighted to be able to offer this species from local seed sources. A charming little plant for sunny rock gardens, it is highly deer resistant. The featured photo (above) shows a wild specimen growing in the thin soil and exposed conditions of an Ottawa Valley alvar.

Similar species: The most well-known buttercup, Common Buttercup (R. acris), which occurs all over the place in old fields and which frequently pops up in gardens, is an introduced European species, as is the Creeping Buttercup (R. repens), which is such a nuisance in west-coast lawns. There is another pretty, low species native to Ontario, Prairie Buttercup Ranunculus rhomboideus. I have seen this buttercup in the wild but have not yet attempted to grow it.


A carpet of Early Buttercup, among mosses and lichens.
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