University of Maryland Extension

Buttercup (Bulbous)

(More Lawn Weeds)  (Lawn Control Options) 

Bulbous buttercup
(Ranunculus bulbosus)


close up of yellow buttercup  flower
Closeup of flower

Life cycle

Perennial, blooms in spring-early summer.

Growth habit

Forms a basal rosette of 3-lobed leaves, arising from a corm. Flowers are bright yellow with 5-7 shiny petals arising from erect, somewhat hairy stems. Tall and creeping buttercup are also seen but less common.


By seed but corms can overwinter.

corms and root system
Bulbous roots (corms)

Conditions that favor growth

Unfertilized, poor soil.


Cultural control: Maintain healthy, dense turf that can compete and prevent weed establishment.
Mechanical control: Hand pulling or using an appropriate weeding tool are the primary means of mechanical weed control in lawns. This is a viable option at the beginning of an infestation and on young weeds. Hand pulling when the soil is moist makes the task easier. Weeds with tap roots like dandelions or have a basal rosette (leaves clustered close to the ground) like plantain and bulbous buttercup (make sure you dig up the corm) are easier to pull than weeds such as Bermudagrass (wiregrass) or creeping Charlie (ground ivy) that spread with stolons or creeping stems that root along the ground.
General chemical control: (lawns) Spot treat weeds with a liquid, selective, postemergent, broadleaf weed killer applied when weeds are actively growing. Look for a product with one or more of the following active ingredients:
2, 4-DMCPP (mecoprop),  Dicamba* or Triclopyr

*Do not spray herbicides containing dicamba over the root zone of trees and shrubs. Roots can absorb the product possibly causing plant damage. Read the product label for precautions. 

Organic control

For a glossary of herbicide terms and additional information see: control options     

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