Bulbous Buttercup [Ranunculus bulbosus]

The Bulbous Buttercup, scientifically recognized as Ranunculus bulbosus, is a perennial weed that is often encountered in fields and grassy regions. While it might not be as prevalent in lawns as the creeping buttercup, its presence can still disrupt the aesthetic appeal and health of a garden or lawn. This article offers a detailed insight into the Bulbous Buttercup and presents three primary methods to control its proliferation.

An In-depth Look at Bulbous Buttercup

Growth and Morphology: One of the defining characteristics of the Bulbous Buttercup is its bulb-like swollen underground corm. This corm acts as a survival mechanism, ensuring the weed’s resurgence in subsequent seasons even after its foliage has withered away.

Habitat and Distribution: Though it can occasionally be found causing disruptions in lawns, its primary habitats are fields and other expansive grassy areas.

Foliage and Flowering: The leaves of the Bulbous Buttercup are distinctly divided into three leaflets, each deeply lobed. Its flowers, radiant in their yellow hue, are emblematic of the buttercup family. These flowers bloom between March and August, offering a prolonged window for its propagation.

Soil Preference: While the Bulbous Buttercup can adapt to a variety of conditions, it exhibits a clear preference for dry, alkaline soils.

Strategies for Effective Control

Managing the Bulbous Buttercup requires a blend of preventive and reactive measures. Here are the top three techniques to tackle this persistent weed:

  1. Hand Weeding: For gardens or lawns with a minimal presence of Bulbous Buttercup, manual extraction can be an effective method. This approach is especially feasible given the weed’s distinctive underground corm, which, if removed completely, can prevent its return.
  2. Promote a Healthy Lawn: A thick, robust lawn can serve as a natural deterrent against the Bulbous Buttercup. By implementing sound lawn care practices, one can ensure that the grass remains dense and healthy, leaving no room for the weed or others to establish a foothold.
  3. Chemical Treatment: In scenarios where the Bulbous Buttercup has spread extensively, chemical treatments might be the most pragmatic solution. Opt for a selective weed killer specifically designed to target the Bulbous Buttercup. However, it’s worth noting that this weed can exhibit resistance to chemical treatments. As such, multiple applications might be required to achieve comprehensive control. As always, safety should be the top priority when using chemicals. Ensure the use of appropriate protective gear, and follow manufacturer guidelines rigorously.


The Bulbous Buttercup, with its radiant yellow flowers, might seem benign at first glance. However, if left unchecked, it can become a persistent issue for gardeners and lawn enthusiasts. Early identification, combined with the right control measures, can ensure that your lawn remains lush, green, and free of the Bulbous Buttercup. Whether you opt for hand weeding, lawn care practices, or chemical treatments, timely and consistent efforts are the keys to success.

John Storm

Oliver Thompson
Lawn Care Expert

About Oliver: Oliver Thompson, a seasoned lawn care expert from the Cotswolds with over two decades of experience, invites all enthusiasts to join him in exploring the world of lawns, sharing knowledge, and fostering a vibrant community of lawn enthusiasts. More info

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