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



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Sarasota, 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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Gardeners' Notes:


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 ... read more


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.


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.


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.


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...


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.


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.