Ranunculus repens
Common Name: creeping buttercup 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Ranunculaceae
Native Range: Eurasia
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to August
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
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.

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.


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.


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.