Ranunculus repens 'Buttered Popcorn'
Common Name: creeping buttercup 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Ranunculaceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Heavy Shade, Wet Soil


Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates full shade. Prefers moist organically rich soils in part shade. Tends to spread more rapidly in moist, shady conditions. Survives being mowed in a lawn. Propagate by seed or division.

'Buttered Popcorn' has best color in sun to part shade (leaf color more golden in sun and more green in shade).

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ranunculus repens, commonly known as creeping buttercup, is a weedy, stoloniferous perennial that typically rises to 8-12" tall, but spreads to 36" wide or more by prostrate stems that root in the ground at the nodes. It will form a dense ground cover in moist areas. Foliage and flowers are ornamentally attractive. Native to Europe and Asia, this plant has over time naturalized in temperate regions throughout the world. It has spread throughout most of the U.S. and Canada, commonly naturalizing into fields, roadsides, waste areas and lawns. Compound, shiny, dark green leaves are tri-foliate with toothed, stiff-bristled, obovate to elliptic leaflets (to 3" long). Five-petaled bright yellow flowers (each to 1" wide) bloom from mid-spring to late summer. Plants often grow in lawns, with flattened basal rosettes that survive foot traffic and mowing. In wild areas, plants may spread over time to form large colonies sometimes covering several acres of land, and in the process compete with and displace less vigorous native plants.

Genus name comes from the Latin word rana meaning frog because many species grow in damp places.

Specific epithet means creeping in reference to its stoloniferous spread.

'Buttered Popcorn' is a dense, creeping ground cover that typically grows to 10" tall and features attractive, chartreuse and gold, deeply cut, serrated, snowflake-like leaves on creeping stems which root as they go at the nodes. Bright yellow flowers appear above the foliage in spring.


No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf spot, powdery mildew, root rot, rust, viral curly top and aster yellows. Watch for aphids. When planted in a garden, plants should be regularly cut back as they spread to adjacent areas. Plant sap can cause blisters on some humans.

Can be aggressive, but 'Buttered Popcorn' is less so than the species.

Garden Uses

Excellent ground cover for large sections of naturalized areas, particularly in moist conditions where many other types of ground cover will not thrive. Pond peripheries. Because of invasive tendencies, caution should be exercised in planting this perennial in the landscape. Some named cultivars are reportedly less invasive than species plants.