Bulbous Buttercup

Botanical name – Ranunculus bulbosus

Family – Ranunculaceae

Aliases – St Anthony’s turnip, frogs foot, goldcup, cuckoo buds, meadowbloom

Bulbous buttercup general information

Bulbous Buttercup

Bulbous buttercup can be a nuisance on dry, nutrient deficient sites


Bulbous buttercup is a native, tufted perennial plant, forming a basal rosette and is easily identified with its distinctive bright yellow flowers. It can be a major nuisance on lawns and in turf, as it can adapt to a relatively low mowing height, although it is not as common as creeping buttercup in managed turf.

This weed takes its name from the large, swollen, underground stem or corm (see photo below) produced by this plant. Once the plant dies off during the late summer, the corm survives underground through the winter months.

It is also common in fields, verges and pastures and it prefers nutrient deficient, free draining soils. It is also common on calcareous (chalky, high pH) sites, but does not like acidic conditions. Bulbous buttercup can grow up to a height of 60cm if left undisturbed and it reproduces by seed.

Identification of bulbous buttercup

Bulbous Buttercup Leaves

The leaves are deeply cut and covered with fine hairs

Each bulbous buttercup leaf bears three leaflets, the 2 lower leaflets are alternate, with middle leaflet being bourn on a short stalk. The leaves are deeply cut and the surfaces are often covered in fine hairs.

Bulbous Buttercup Flower

The golden yellow flowers are typical of all buttercup type weeds and plants

The yellow flowers produce 5 petals and measure up to 25mm in diameter. A distinguishing feature is that the yellow – green sepals on the underside of the flower point backwards. The flowering period is from March to July.

Bulbous Buttercup Root

This weed gets its name from this large bulbous corm or stem produced by this weed

Bulbous buttercup has a fibrous root system.

Prevention and control of bulbous buttercup

Encouraging healthy turf by applying adaquate feed and irrigation (when necessary) will help discouarge this weed.

Hand weeding can be effective in removing this weed. For the best result hand weed when the soil is moist, as the roots are easier to remove than if the soil is on the dry side.

Bulbous buttercup can be a difficult weed to control with a selective herbicide, as it is somewhat resistant to many weed killing products. In many cases more than one application may be required.

Recommended products for bulbous buttercup control

Professional products (The user requires the appropriate certificate/s to apply these products)

  • Headland Relay Turf (Mecoprop-p, Dicamba, MCPA)
  • React Ultra (Mecoprop-p, Dicamba, MCPA)
  • Bayer Longbow (Mecoprop-p, Dicamba, MCPA)

Products available for non-professioanl use (These products are available from garden centres and DIY stores.)

  • Resolva lawn weed killer (2,4-D, Mecoprop-p, MCPA, Dicamba)