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Meadow Buttercup

Ranunculus acris

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Meadow Buttercup

Conservation Status

Green, least concern

Best Time to See

May, June, July, August

Natural Habitat


One of our most familiar and best-loved buttercups, which is such a characteristic flower of meadows, verges and other grasslands.

This is the buttercup you’re most likely to pick and hold under your chin to see if you like butter!

Meadow buttercup is an upright plant growing up to 60cm tall. It’s leaves are deeply lobed into narrow segments with pointed tips. The golden yellow flowers are carried in branching sprays; unlike creeping buttercup (R. repens) and bulbous buttercup (R. bulbosa) the flower stems don’t have a groove along their length.

Meadow buttercup and bulbous buttercup look very similar. The best way to tell them apart is to look at the small green sepals under each petal; in meadow buttercup they cup the petal above, while in bulbous buttercup they are strongly reflexed backwards and lie against the flower stem.


Found throughout the UK.


A wide range of damp and dry grassy places such as meadows, pastures, lawns, verges and dunes, as well as mountain rock ledges.

Best time to see

When in flower, from May to August.

Did you know?

The petals of buttercup flowers trap a thin layer of air between two layers of cells. This gives them a mirror-like quality that reflects light, making them highly visible to pollinators (and good at predicting a love of butter!).

www.plantlife.org.uk for more information



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