Meadow Buttercup [Ranunculus acris]

Description: Meadow Buttercup, scientifically known as Ranunculus acris, is a perennial weed. Though it’s less commonly found on fine turf compared to other buttercups, it can still pose occasional challenges for gardeners and turf managers.

The propagation of Meadow Buttercup happens through seeds and its creeping runners. Its leaves are quintessential of buttercups, divided into three leaflets. However, what distinguishes this particular weed is the profound cuts in the leaves, making them resemble a crow’s foot, earning it another common name – crowfoot.

The deeply lobed leaflets of Meadow Buttercup set it apart from its relatives like the creeping and bulbous buttercup. The flower, which blooms between May and July, possesses the characteristic yellow hue synonymous with buttercups, typically comprising five petals.

As for its habitat, Meadow Buttercup isn’t picky about the soil type but has a penchant for moist conditions, especially thriving in heavy clay soils.


  1. Manual Removal:
    • Hand Weeding: If Meadow Buttercup’s presence is limited, one can consider hand weeding as an effective control measure. The key is to meticulously dig out the plant, ensuring the removal of runners and roots.
  2. Soil Management:
    • Improving Drainage: Meadow Buttercup has a fondness for wet soil conditions. Enhancing the drainage of your lawn or garden can be a strategic move against this weed. Well-drained soil becomes less inviting for its growth and spread.
  3. Chemical Control:
    • Selective Herbicides: In cases where Meadow Buttercup has proliferated, manual removal might not suffice. Opting for a selective weed killer becomes essential for efficient control. However, one must note that this weed can be quite resilient, often necessitating repeat applications for complete eradication.

Safety is paramount when using chemical solutions. Always equip yourself with the recommended protective gear. Strictly adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines concerning health, safety, and application to ensure effectiveness without compromising safety.

In sum, while Meadow Buttercup can be a persistent issue in gardens and lawns, a combination of manual, soil management, and chemical strategies can help in reclaiming the turf’s health and beauty.

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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