Gardening Magazine

Ranunculus Ficaria

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Ranunculus ficaria (13/04/14, Torquay, Devon)

Ranunculus ficaria (13/04/14, Torquay, Devon)

Position: Partial to full shade

Flowering period: Spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 15cm

Eventual Spread: 45cm

Hardiness: 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b

Family: Ranunculaceae

Ranunculus ficaria is a deciduous herbaceous perennial with a clump forming habit. Its dark green leaves are cordate with entire margins, up to 5cm long and 3cm broad. Its leaves die down during the dryer summer months. Its yellow flowers are up to 25mm across and appear on stalks above its leaves. Its roots are tuberous which aids its slow spread.

Ranunculus ficaria Flower (13/04/14, Torquay, Devon)

Ranunculus ficaria Flower (13/04/14, Torquay, Devon)

Ranunculus ficaria, commonly known as Lesser Celandine, is native to Europe (including the UK) and west Asia. In its native habitat it grows in woodlands in damp shady locations. Ranunculus ficaria is considered an invasive weed in many parts of the USA.

The etymological root of the binomial name Ranunculus is derived from the Latin rana meaning ’frog’, in reference to the plants liking for damp places. Ficaria is derived from an old generic name, meaning ‘small fig’.

The landscape architect may find Ranunculus ficaria useful as an effective native (UK) ground cover plant for shady areas. This plant should be used in combination with other perennials as its leaves die down during the summer months. This plant is not attractive to deer.

Ranunculus ficaria Leaf (13/04/14, Torquay, Devon)

Ranunculus ficaria Leaf (13/04/14, Torquay, Devon)

Ecologically, Ranunculus ficaria flowers are attractive to pollinating insects.

Ranunculus ficaria prefers moist, humus rich, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Ranunculus ficaria requires little maintenance. Large clumps may be divided in spring or early autumn.

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