Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Yellow Buttercups, Yellow Alder, Sage Rose
Turnera ulmifolia var. elegans

Family: Passifloraceae (pas-ih-flor-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Turnera (TER-ner-uh) (Info)
Species: ulmifolia var. elegans

One member has or wants this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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Thumbnail #1 of Turnera ulmifolia var. elegans by TARogers5

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There are a total of 8 photos.
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6 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Seerenity On Dec 8, 2013, Seerenity from Central Florida, FL wrote:

I bought two yellow buttercup plants from the distressed plant rack at Lowe's. I planted them in full sun, with lots of water and they revived and took off growing. Produces abundant flowers. Takes a little patience to find the seed cups, which I think like to hide! The cups are very small and fragile, lasting a brief time. I found that if I hold an open envelope under the branch and lightly tap the leaf, I have more luck capturing the seeds. The slightest movement on the leaf or a puff of wind will cause the cup to fall, spilling the seeds. I have picked the cups off by hand, but prefer the envelope method of collection. I threw several seeds into a container of potting soil and now have seedlings sticking their heads up. In addition, I have had good luck with cuttings. I am also trying to see if a piece of the plant will root in water - too soon to tell. I really like this plant and I am glad I found it.

Positive Bossjim1 On Sep 21, 2011, Bossjim1 from Alvin, TX wrote:

I have both the Turnera ulmifolia, and the Turnera ulmifolia var.'elegans'. The "var. 'elegans' in the name specifies the cream color.

Positive fredrump On Mar 17, 2008, fredrump from Naples, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

My buttercups suddenly appeared and can be found in various part of my garden. I have no idea how it puts itself into these positions. Must be seeds flying through the air. I like the plant. It seems to bloom all the time but can use trimming to keep it bushy.

Positive Scarlete On Nov 7, 2006, Scarlete from Tampa, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I found this plant just growing happily in my yard this spring and it's been doing well ever since. I have no idea where it came from and didn't know what it was until a a trip to Home Depot told me it was the "Cuban Buttercup". Of course, looking up the Cuban Buttercup here looks a whole lot different than what my plant looks like. The blooms are bright canary yellow, not cream.

Blooms usually last a little while, and then fade off later in the day.

Neutral handbright On Jun 8, 2006, handbright from Coral Springs, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

This plant, while really pretty, seems to draw flies here in zone 10 b (or 11 depending on what map you use...)
I had two in hanging baskets underplanted with the evolvulus "Blue Daze" near a kitchen window. Visually they were really pretty, and grew well together.
Needless to say both baskets have been moved far from the house...

Positive artcons On Jun 4, 2005, artcons from Fort Lauderdale, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I agree with the above post. In zone 10 it's called a Cuban Buttercup. It's even sold at HD as a Cuban Buttercup (turnera) In zone 10 it spreads like wildfire. In my picture it's growing out of "jack boots" of a Sable Palm. The nearest Cuban Buttercup plant to this palm is at least 50' away, so it came from droppings or it spreads seeds by air. It's very colorfull all year round. I find it needs regular trimming to keep it from becoming woody and "leggy". In a trimmed compact form it's a terrific plant. I have had this plant in my yard for easily ten or more years in a variety of places. It does well in full sun or partial shade, or shade.

Positive foodiesleuth On Oct 12, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

The actual blooms are bright yellow, not cream/tan as described above.

This flower is called Marilope in Cuba and it is the official flower of my hometown of Cienfuegos.

I was pleasantly surprised to see it grows in Hawaii also.
If planted near papaya trees, the fruit of the papaya will not be stung by fruit flies as much, since the insects will sting the blossoms of the Marilope instead.

Easily propagated by sticking a stem in the ground.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Palm Springs, California
Bartow, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Naples, Florida
Ocoee, Florida
Orange Park, Florida
Palm Coast, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Spring Hill, Florida
Tampa, Florida (2 reports)
Vero Beach, Florida
Wellborn, Florida
Honomu, Hawaii
Gonzales, Louisiana
Lake Arthur, Louisiana
Saint Helena Island, South Carolina
Alvin, Texas
Spring, Texas

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