Meadow Buttercup - Ranunculus acris


Medium to tall plant usually hairy. Basal leaves deeply divided into 3 to 7 narrow wedge shaped segments, each toothed or lobed. Stem leaves similar but smaller. Flowers golden yellow 15 to 25 mm with erect sepals. Stalks beneath the flowers smooth and rounded, not ribbed, and is hollow.

Similar Species

Often confused with R bulbosus and R repens; all are common in grasslands

Identification difficulty
ID checklist (your specimen should have all of these features)

Basal leaves are palmate (this distinguishes it from R repens and R bulbosus).  Sepals not turned down the stalk.

Recording advice

Photos of basal leaves and sepals (a side-on view of flower, not 'full face') 


Damp meadows and pastures various grassy places.

When to see it

April to September.

Life History


UK Status

Very common throughout Britain.

VC55 Status

Very common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 594 of the 617 tetrads.  It is listed as Native and Locally Abundant in the current Checklist (Jeeves, 2011)

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map

Species profile

Common names
Meadow Buttercup
Species group:
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
01/07/1998 (John Mousley)
Last record:
12/07/2024 (Higgott, Mike)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

10km squares with records

The latest images and records displayed below include those awaiting verification checks so we cannot guarantee that every identification is correct. Once accepted, the record displays a green tick.

In the Latest Records section, click on the header to sort A-Z, and again to sort Z-A. Use the header boxes to filter the list.

Latest images

Latest records

Photo of the association

Phytomyza ranunculi

A leaf mining fly whose larvae mine the leaves of various members of the Buttercup family. In this species the grains of frass are closely adjoining or grouped. Identification is more difficult when the mine is in the stem.

Photo of the association

Phytomyza ranunculivora

A leaf mining fly whose larvae mine the leaves of various members of the Buttercup family of plants.  In this species the mine is linear, whitish, with frass in widely spaced grains.