Creeping Buttercup

March 9th, 2012

Latin:  Ranunculus repens

Irish:  Fearbán reatha


This is a native perennial that occurs in abundance in damp field, roadsides and ditches throughout the country.  It and its close relative, Meadow Buttercup, is probably one of our most familiar wild flowers.

It is erect (up to 40 cm tall) and hairy and spreads by runners that creep across the soil surface, sending down roots at intervals.

The leaves are roughly triangular in outline and divided into 3 lobes that are roughly toothed. The flowers (20-300mm across) with the familiar glossy, yellow petals (usually 5) first appear during May.

This species can be distinguished from other buttercup species by the runners that it produces and it has a distinctly furrowed pedicel (flower stalk).


A characteristic of all buttercups is sap that is irritant and acid-like and capable of causing blistering if applied to the skin.  This property was exploited in folk medicine where buttercup sap was used as a treatment for rheumatism.


Creeping Buttercup can be found at many damp and/or compacted locations on the course: for example in the spinney close to the pump housing beside the lake at the 13th green; in the Builder’s Paddock, etc.  .

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