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The Buttercup Plant Family and Recognition

I’m Declaring Wednesdays, Plant Family Day

How many plants or flowers do you know by name? The average number of plants for most people to be able to name is fifty If so, that is just a small portion of the known plants on earth today. There are literally millions of species of plants, so many that it is difficult to get an exact credible number between wild and cultivated plants. Even more amazing, there are more being discovered each year. Surprisingly, anyone can learn to recognize most plants by name, or at least be able to determine their original plant family. All you have to know are about twenty-seven different kinds of family traits to be able to identify them.

Wednesday, April 21


The petals of buttercups gleam like polished gold when the wind makes them dance in a sunny meadow. The buttercup has many cousins, in fact, there are over two thousand members of this plant family, here are just a few:

  • The Anemones;
  • The Marsh marigold that fills swampy places with its bright yellow flowers and shining green leaves;
  • The Delphinium (larkspur);
  • The Columbine, with it five nectar-tipped spurs;
  • The Monkshood (The beautiful blue monkshoods produced the deadliest of all poisons.);
  • The aristocratic Peony; and
  • The beautiful vine Clematis;

Another name for the buttercup family is crowfoot, from the cut up leaves that were thought to suggest the foot of a large bird. Many members of this plant family live in the wild in marshy places. The flower parts are sharply distinct, with many stamens and generally many pistils. In the species that have no petals, there are likely to be brightly colored sepals.

How To Recognize This Plant Family

  • The main thing to remember with this plant family, is that not all members of it, look alike. Most will be the familiar open cup shaped flowers, however, some family members have strange shapes (like the Columbine or Larkspur).
  • The Buttercup family’s real scientific name is Ranunculaceae.
  • Compared to other plant families, they are quite primitive.
  • Buttercups have five sepals, five petals, many stamens and pistils.
  • Each buttercup family member’s pistils end in a little point.
  • Most buttercup flowers are yellow, followed by white, and occasionally red or orange.
  • Most buttercup flowers bloom in April or May.
  • Buttercups are a favorite food plant for many species of butterflies.
  • All buttercup family members evolve to their own pattern (which can be confusing sometimes).
  • Don’t forget, many member of this plant family are very toxic and should not be eaten.

If You’d Like To Know More About Buttercups!

Garden Guides - Buttercups

Close Up View of Buttercups - Amazing!

Buttercup Flower