Ranunculus repens

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Ranunculus repens
Creeping butercup close 800.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Ranunculus
Species: R. repens
Binomial name
Ranunculus repens

Ranunculus repens, the creeping buttercup, is a flowering plant in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae, native to Europe, Asia and northwestern Africa.[1][2] It is also called creeping crowfoot and (along with restharrow) sitfast.[3]


It is a herbaceous, stoloniferous perennial plant growing to 50 cm tall. It has both prostrate running stems, which produce roots and new plants at the nodes, and more or less erect flowering stems. The basal leaves are compound, borne on a 4–20 cm long petiole and divided into three broad leaflets 1.5–8 cm long, shallowly to deeply lobed, each of which is stalked.[4] The leaves higher on the stems are smaller, with narrower leaflets and may be simple and lanceolate. Both the stems and the leaves are finely hairy. The flowers are bright golden yellow, 2–3 cm diameter, usually with five petals, and the flower stem is finely grooved. The fruit is a cluster of achenes 2.5–4 mm long. Creeping buttercup has three-lobed dark green, white-spotted leaves that grow out of the node. It grows in fields and pastures and prefers wet soil.[5][6]


In Ireland: very common in damp places, ditches and flooded areas.[4][7]

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Creeping buttercup was sold in many parts of the world as an ornamental plant, and has now become an invasive species in many parts of the world.[2]

Like most buttercups, Ranunculs repens is poisonous, although when dried with hay these poisons are lost. The taste of buttercups is acrid, so cattle avoid eating them. The plants then take advantage of the cropped ground around it to spread their stolons. Creeping buttercup also is spread through the transportation of hay. Contact with the sap of the plant can cause skin blistering.[8]


  1. ^ Flora Europaea: [1]
  2. ^ a b Germplasm Resources Information Network: Ranunculus repens
  3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary entry for "Sit-fast":2. Sc.a. The plants restharrow and creeping crowfoot. 1808 JAMIESON, Sitfasts, restharrow. 1825 {emem} Suppl., Sitfast, Creeping Crowfoot, Ranunculus Repens.
  4. ^ a b Parnell, P. and Curtis, T. 2012. Webb's An Irish Flora. Cork University Press. ISBN 978-185918-4783
  5. ^ Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. ISBN 0-340-40170-2
  6. ^ Flora of NW Europe: Ranunculus repens
  7. ^ Hackney, P. 1992. Stewart and Corry's Flora of the North-east of Ireland. Third Edition. Institute of Irish Studies and The Queen's University of Belfast ISBN 0-85389-446-9 )HB
  8. ^ Plants for a Future: Ranunculus repens