Ranunculus Species, Creeping Buttercup, Creeping Crowfoot, Meadow Buttercup, Spot-Leaved Crowfoot

Ranunculus repens

Family: Ranunculaceae (ra-nun-kew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ranunculus (ra-NUN-ku-lus) (Info)
Species: repens (REE-penz) (Info)



Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage


Good Fall Color


Foliage Color:



6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Athens, Alabama

Seward, Alaska

Aspen, Colorado

Aurora, Colorado

Thomasville, Georgia

Moscow, Idaho

Ashton, Illinois

Leavenworth, Kansas

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Sandwich, Massachusetts

Maben, Mississippi

Missoula, Montana

Croton On Hudson, New York

Kingston, New York

Aurora, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio

Tipp City, Ohio

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Lititz, Pennsylvania

Morrisville, Pennsylvania

Summerville, South Carolina

Richmond, Texas

Bay Center, Washington

Bremerton, Washington

Everett, Washington

Lakewood, Washington

Mercer Island, Washington

North Sultan, Washington

Sammamish, Washington

Sultan, Washington

Porterfield, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 27, 2020, edvac from Snohomish, WA wrote:

From the Pacific Northwest area of Washington state we have this to say about Buttercups:
About 30 years ago we got some compost from a nearby farm. A few buttercups came up. We thought they were pretty. Within a year they were all over. They have been with us ever since. They are horrid plants.
We have since found out this plant is horrifically invasive. It is impossible to remove. The only option is control. Yes, the flowers are pretty. But the leaves are mildly poison, and the plant will totally destroy a garden of far more beautiful non-invasive flowers. Also, this plant will destroy a vegetable garden. Its roots entwine with the veggies roots and choke them out. This plant should never, ever be sold anywhere. Once it gets started, you will probably never get it out.


On May 10, 2019, haida_gwaii from Cascade-Fairwood, WA wrote:

This plant is considered 'a weed of concern' in King County, Washington, likely throughout the state. It quickly overtakes an area and crowds out anything else, reducing biodiversity. It should ABSOLUTELY NOT be planted, rooted, or traded within the United States (and in many parts of the world). It is native to Europe, Asia and northwestern Africa.

In Western WA, our temperate climate allows for it to grow year-round, and since it reproduces both by seed and sending out nodes (creeping stolons), it is impossible to control. It can also regenerate from any pieces of the rhizome. Considering how tough it is to remove, you should absolutely never plant it outside! Same with ANY invasive species (and there's a lot of them)!

The proper way to dispose of the plant... read more


On May 4, 2018, elliza from Portland, OR wrote:

A horrorshow. It got fully embedded into my small front grass space, and partially embedded in the back small grass space. The damage was so bad I ended up pulling everything I could, tilling and amending the soil, then completely reseeding the grass. The year after I did a modified version of this.

Creeping ranunculus has a deeply embedded central stalk that sends out multiple, flat to the ground leaves and underground tendrils which form new plants. In very little time it will kill everything else and form a thin mat of plant over the sea of mud and clay underneath. I pull it up wherever I see it, and about half the time must dig as well to get out the roots.

In my yard, the flower isn't very attractive and the plant just gets thin and choking, not lush... read more


On Feb 2, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A noxious weed of lawns and gardens and an invasive species destructive of natural areas. It's on the Massachusetts prohibited plant list, which makes the sale, trade, transport, and planting of this species illegal.

Poisonous to grazing animals, and the juice contains a vesicant that can cause blistering on contact.

This plant destroys other plants not only through competition for resources but also by producing allelopathic chemicals, toxins that inhibit the growth of or kill a wide range of other plants.

I once managed to eliminate this from a small piece of lawn, but I'm embarrassed to admit how many days it took me.


On Jul 26, 2013, splaash from Aurora, CO wrote:

INVASIVE! I was hoping the 'buttered popcorn' would not be. I put wide edging (above and below the ground) around the plants and it still escaped and moved into other ground covers in the vicinity. Very difficult to eradicate.


On Jun 8, 2009, WAHawk from Sammamish, WA wrote:

Ditto all the negatives from Western WA. Don't ever let this stuff in your garden unless you like it so well that's all you want to grow. (Even then your neighbors will eventually hate you when it gets into their yards). Yes it's pretty... but I'm at war, and I'm losing!


On Apr 10, 2009, giftgas from Everson, WA (Zone 7b) wrote:

My dad actually took some of this from a walk in the woods, and put it in his yard. It's been a year now, and he's still happy with the outcome...no more garlic mustard...and yet, I can't remember the last time I saw his lawn, or even dirt for that matter - all that I see are nice little yellow flowers.


On Oct 22, 2007, dkaise from Aurora, OH wrote:

I would not recommend this plant to anyone for garden use. It spreads everywhere and chokes out any other plants that are in the way. It is so attractive when in bloom, and the leaves are so pretty, that I didn't realize until too late how invasive it was.
One of the worse qualities, is that it spreads via runners and can come up in the middle of another plant, at which point the roots are growing together & hard to get rid of. It has spread into the lawn in spots, where it is doing fine.
I planted this in my garden about 12 years ago, and have been trying to eradicate it from my garden for about 10 years.


On May 20, 2006, renwings from Sultan, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

This bugger is awfull here. It grows so thickly that it even chokes out the lawn. It is very difficult to pull too, I think I'd rather pull dandelions. The root holds on with a death grip and it will come back with a vengance if you leave part of the root in the ground. It is pretty in its own way, but makes me want to cry when I find a large patch of it in the flower bed.


On Aug 17, 2005, Weezingreens from Seward, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

I do not have this plant in my gardens, but I have seen it in a neighbor's flower bed. She tried eradicating it by digging out the soil and sifting it back in, but it is still coming up. It is not an unpleasant looking plant, but it drops roots wherever the runners go and could choke out other plants on the way. I think I'll stay away from this one!


On May 22, 2005, coastgarden from Bay Center, WA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Pacific Northwest here, coastal. Not knowing what this plant was, I have 'fought' with it for 3 years now. I call it a weed and spend enormous amount of time digging it out of everywhere it chooses to volunteer throughout my yard and garden. While the little yellow blooms are attractive, it's way of spreading underground and sending up new shoots that develop into plants makes it most unwelcome for my tastes.

It seems to grow of it's own accord, as I didn't plant it. I'm surprised to learn it is of the ranunculus family. We have moisture here, coastal area on the bay, and my yard stays moist and wet for the most part so this buttercup grows where it wants, creeps rapidly and pops up in places that have vulnerable other deliberate plants.

Not to be ... read more


On Apr 12, 2005, Legit from Porterfield, WI (Zone 4b) wrote:

I am sorry to have to leave a negative as well, this plant is very attractive in foliage, and the pretty yellow flowers make you leave it a little longer. Well, needless to say, It WILL get away from you, now I am considering roundup on the whole bed and removing the valuable plants it has not choked YET. Legit


On Aug 5, 2004, xyris from Sebring, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is also a common weed in the Pacific Northwest, where it spreads through large areas of our wet lawn in winter, and creeps both under and over edging into garden beds. One has to be vigilant to dig it up early before more underground runners develop!


On Aug 5, 2004, henryr10 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

First off let me say;
I LOVE invasive plants!
We grow Ajuga, Ivy, Bamboo, etc.

Now on to creeping buttercup.
Around here it's called Galloping Buttercup.

Unless you have it in a pot, on a cement patio w/ at least 10' of room surrounding it.
Stay away from this one.

Run a Google Image search for Creeping Buttercup.
On the first page you will see an image of a herbicide called Creeping Buttercup Weedkiller.

This should tell you about all you need to know about this plant.


On May 17, 2002, micky_IN wrote:

I bought 2 plants in 3" pots last year and I now have about 10' of Ranunculus. It is invasive, it will grow where it wants to, when it wants to. I have tried to keep it under "control" however it seems, if I'm not at it everyday it keeps on spreading. On the good (great) side of it all, it will grow in shade, partial shade and full sun. I know because I have it in all of those conditions. The ones in full sun are about 18" now and are blooming all over. The transplanted ones are doing great but not blooming yet. I have no idea what kind of soil I have, just plain ole yard dirt I guess but, they seem to love it. The leafs are a varigated yellow/lime green right now and will get greener as time goes by. I love my Ranunculus and would recommend it to anyone wanting something that will spread ... read more