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California Buttercup
Ranunculus californicus
  
About California Buttercup (Ranunculus californicus) 16 Nurseries Carry This Plant The California buttercup (Ranunculus californicus), a perennial herb of the Ranunculaceae family, brightens much of California (except the deserts) with 3/4 inch, remarkably glossy, deep yellow flowers, each with 9 to 17 petals. Their native habitat extends into Baja California, Oregon, and some Pacific coast islands. There are two recognized Varieties: Var californicus is widespread and the flowers rise above the basal leaves on 1 ft to 2ft branching stems. Var cuneatus is found primarily on the north-central coast and blooms from short stems, giving this variety the look of a low ground cover. By mid-summer the flowers have shed seed, and the plant is dormant. New seedlings readily volunteer in late winter to spring. Propagate easily by seed from seed companies and local exchanges. Nursery plants may occasionally be available.

For the garden, plant this buttercup in front of the border and in meadows with native annuals and bulbs, blue-eyed grass, shooting stars, woolly blue-curls, and other natives that require little, if any, supplemental summer irrigation. Buttercups are not only worthy cut flowers but also a good source of nutrition. Toast them in a frying pan briefly. Use in porridge or grind and add to baked goods. Don't miss this easy to grow and quite appealing native. Often riparian or semi-riparian in the drier parts of its range.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Plant Type
Perennial Herb

Size
Size
0.6 - 2.3 ft tall
6 in wide

Form
Form
Fountain

Growth Rate
Growth Rate
Fast

Dormancy
Dormancy
Summer Deciduous

Flower Color
Flower Color
Yellow

Flowering Season
Flowering Season
Winter, Spring

Wildlife Supported
 
A variety of insects are attracted to the flowers, especially native bees

 
Butterflies & moths hosted ( 3 likely * ) SHOW ALL

Landscaping Information
Sun
Sun
Part Shade, Full Sun

Moisture
Moisture
Moderate - High, Low

Summer Irrigation
Summer Irrigation
Never irrigate once established

Nurseries
Nurseries

Ease of Care
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Cold Tolerance
Cold Tolerance
Tolerates cold to 10° F

Soil Drainage
Soil Drainage
Fast, Medium, Slow

Soil Description
Soil Description
Adaptable. Soil PH: 5 - 8

Common uses
Common uses
Bee Gardens

Companion Plants
Companion Plants
Dodecatheon clevelandii (Shooting Star), Sisyrinchium bellum (Blue-eyed Grass), Trichostema lancolatum (wooly blue-curls)

Maintenance
Maintenance
Cut plant to the ground as it goes dormant in summer.

Propagation
Propagation?
Allow seed pods to dry on the plant. In late winder/spring, the seeds will sprout nicely in situ. No special treatment is needed for seeds collected for propagation offsite.

Sunset Zones
Sunset Zones?
2, 3, 4*, 5*, 6*, 7, 8, 9, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22, 23, 24

Natural Setting
Site Type
Site Type
Many and varied wet and dry places from the coast ranges to foothill grasslands to meadows and woodlands below about 7,000 ft. Often found in open areas.

Climate
Climate
Annual Precipitation: 6.3" - 87.4", Summer Precipitation: 0.14" - 3.00", Coldest Month: 27.0" - 56.0", Hottest Month: 50.0" - 84.0", Humidity: 0.07" - 34.82", Elevation: -293" - 8087"

Alternative Names
Common Names: Common Buttercup


Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora


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