Weeds: Creeping buttercup: Ranunculus repens

Photo by: T.W. Miller
Use IPM (Integrated Pest Management) for most successful weed management.

Family: Ranunculaceae
Cycle: Perennial
Plant Type: Broadleaf

Description: Creeping buttercup is a creeping perennial plant that is usually fairly low-growing. The stems are hairy and root at the nodes when they contact the soil. Leaves are also hairy, with long petioles. The leaf blade is divided or deeply lobed into three broadly toothed segments. Leaves are typically dark green but may have lighter spots. Flowers are borne on erect stems above the foliage. The flowers have five (sometimes up to ten) glossy yellow petals and a cluster of yellow stamens in the center. Flowers reach up to an inch in diameter. Seeds are borne in dense, bur-like clusters at the ends of stems. Each seed is about 1/8 inch long and has a short, backward-curving beak. Tall buttercup (R. acris) is similar to creeping buttercup, but often reaches heights of 3 feet. The lower leaves are divided into 3 to 5 deeply cut segments, while upper leaves are reduced to narrow straplike segments. Tall buttercup normally does not root at the nodes. SPECIAL INFORMATION: The sap of creeping buttercup can irritate the skin and mucous membranes. Buttercups are toxic to livestock.

Habitat: Creeping buttercup is commonly found in moist areas such as meadows and along ditch banks, but it can also become a problem in lawns. It can become aggressive in pastures.

Management Options
  • Maintaining a healthy planting or turf area to provide competition will prevent weed establishment.

Revision Date: 6/9/2014
Apply according to label directions. Glyphosate products should be applied as spot treatments only! Multiple applications are necessary for control, which may be only marginal. NOTE: Some ingredients listed here are only available in combination. Read the label carefully on combination products to make sure the product is suitable for your specific situation.

Landscape Areas Turf Areas Bare Ground Areas
  • glyphosate
  • 2,4-D + MCPP + dicamba
  • products containing 2,4-D
  • products containing MCPA
  • glyphosate
  • products containing 2,4-D
What are Bare Ground Areas?


Hortsense web site created by Carrie Foss, Pesticide Education, and Art Antonelli, Extension Entomology, WSU Puyallup
Pesticide information review provided by Catherine Daniels, Washington State Pest Management Resource Service
Database programs developed for Hortsense by Kathleen Duncan, Computer Resources, WSU Pullman
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