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Glossy, shiny, golden yellow and glittering with their delicate stamens - that's what they are, the flowers of the buttercup, which probably every child already knows. Which family do these flowers belong to and what characteristics did they inherit from their family?

The buttercup belongs to the buttercup family

A member of the buttercup family

The buttercup, which is well known and borders many meadows in spring, belongs to the Ranunculaceae plant family. These plants are divided into the order of the buttercups (Ranunculales) and represent part of the flowering plants. They include around 2500 species that can be found all over the world.

Leaves like buttercups

One of the most salient features that will help you place the buttercup in the buttercup family is the leaves. These look like the feet of roosters. They are incised in three to five parts. Leaves form at the base and the stems, which shoot up at the flowering time, also have such shaped leaves.

Venomous, like others of her family

Another characteristic that all buttercups, including buttercups, have is their toxicity. The buttercup, like its family members, contains a toxin called protoanemonin. This is poisonous for both humans and animals and, if consumed in excess, can lead to paralysis and shortness of breath, for example.

Showy flowers

Last but not least, all buttercup plants have in common that they have eye-catching flowers, with which they make many friends in the hungry insect world. The flowers of the buttercup appear in May and can be viewed until June. They really shine with their rich yellow color and are embedded in a meadow and cannot be overlooked.

Other typical features of this plant family

Here are other characteristics of the buttercup, which are also characteristics of the entire plant family:

  • safer when dried
  • not eatable
  • Distribution in temperate zones, mainly in the northern hemisphere
  • perennial, herbaceous
  • no stipules present
  • hermaphrodite flowers
  • many stamens and carpels
  • like moist locations
  • used as ornamental and medicinal plants


Don't confuse the buttercup with the dandelion, also sometimes referred to as the buttercup. Dandelion and this buttercup differ greatly from one another in terms of their toxicity, among others.

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