What’s Up? Buttercups

Pastureland ~ Brazoria County

It may be January, and a good dose of cold weather may be in the forecast, but buttercups (Ranunculus spp.) are tough little flowers. Known as early bloomers, in past days they’ve been popping up everywhere, multiplying sunshine when skies are clear, and adding their buttery flavor to even the gloomiest day.

Fencing, padlocks, and a rather sturdy-looking bull kept me from a closer look at this field on two consecutive days — one sunny, one cloudy –but even from a distance, the glow of the flowers delighted.


Comments always are welcome.



44 thoughts on “What’s Up? Buttercups

    1. As beautiful as drifting snow can be, drifts of buttercups are ever so much better — especially when they appear in January. Let’s hope the butter(cups) continue to spread.

        1. We’re of the same generation, for sure. I linked to that song in my comment to eremophila, down the page. It’s such a great, bouncy tune, and never fails to make me smile.

  1. They have been popping up everywhere – hope they can wrap their little leaves around those stems this weekend (although it doesn’t look as bad as predicted last week…wrapping Christmas lights around palms – no coats for them this time…knock on woody stems….)
    It is a pretty time of year here if you can appreciate Nature’s winter decor

    1. I found a vacant lot filled with them today near the Houston Yacht Club. A friend in Montana has photographed them surrounded by ice and snow, so ours should be just fine — like the snapdragons and pansies that the landscapers have strewn about. They may retreat, but they’ll be back. Once we get past Saturday night, all should be well: at least, until the next time.

  2. Buttercups! I love their sunny color and how they pave the way for spring. Thank you, Linda, for braving the bull to capture these for us — they’re a most welcome sight as Central Illinois looks out on a blanket of white!

    1. Every time I see a bull in the vicinity of flowers I think of one of my favorite childhood books. Did you read about Ferdinand, the bull who preferred smelling flowers to fighting? I think he might have had a soulmate in this pasture.

      You’re not having a very springlike weekend; be careful in that icy mess. We’ll be cold and windy, but no snow for us — just shivering flowers.

    1. No, I know better than that. There are enough critters to worry about without provoking one unnecessarily — and there will be other buttercups in other, more accessible pastures.

    1. Aren’t they? I found what may be the tiniest microclimate I’ve ever found a couple of weekends ago, and it was filled with a variety of flowers — including gaillardia. Granted, there were only a half dozen of those, but they were great fun to see.

    1. It certainly doesn’t. There’s something immensely cheering about yellow flowers, and these, coming in the midst of winter, are a real pleasure. Even though we don’t get snow and ice, it can be a little drab in January and February, and these spots of color help to keep the gloomies away.

      1. Yes, that’s the one, I knew you’d find it. Trying to get to blogging but technology isn’t being helpful.

    1. It is, Lavinia. Right now, we have a wonderful mix of seasons, with some lingering autumn mixing it up with the first hints of spring.There will be a period of gloom or two — and some good, cold weather — before full spring arrives, but so far, thanks to consistent rains and relatively mild temperatures, all is well. The biggest concern is that the fruit trees will start to bud and bloom, and then get nipped. But what will be, will be. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the beauty that’s offered.

  3. Recently you’ve published two different images that made me recall my childhood in Mississippi! Both were when I rode my horse ‘behind’ the house in the cotton fields – to a low area that was thriving with wildflowers! I think these lovely yellow buttercups were some of those flowers that I wove through the bridle – a celebration of color and of simple beauty. Ah, I was probably a ‘strange’ child, but a happy one!

    1. ‘Strange’ has such negative connotations. ‘Unusual’ or ‘perplexing’ probably would do just as well. But it’s the happiness that counted for us in our childhoods and, as it happens, we’ve still both relatively happy, despite having taken somewhat unusual paths as adults. Braiding flowers through bridles, metaphorically or otherwise, isn’t the worst thing in the world, especially if the flowers are as pretty as these buttercups!

    1. Buttercups are peaceful. Like violets or lily of the valley, they’re a bit shy, despite taking over whole pastures while your back is turned. There’s nothing pompous or blustery about them at all, which probably would keep some of our leaders from noticing them — no doubt the ones who most could profit from a little buttercup-ish contemplation.

  4. I used to love buttercups as a child. But it’s been so long since I saw one, I completely forgot about their existence.
    Thanks for Sharing they sunny, golden blooms, Linda. They’re enough to brighten up anyone’s day.

    1. Isn’t it strange how we can forget even things that we enjoyed? Every now and then I have that experience, and I always wonder how I could have forgotten whatever it is that I remember. I’m glad to have brought back a good memory for you, and brightened your day a bit. I hope you’re continuing to heal well, too.

      1. Wrist is much improved, thank you Linda. My leg which had a tiny puncture wound from a bit of wire or something is taking its time to heal though. Very sore and red so am seeing the Dr over the weekend.

        1. Puncture wounds do take longer, and are a little riskier, at least in my experience. I’m glad for your wrist improvement, though, and glad you’ll get that leg tended to.

  5. Wow, that’s awesome, Linda. What a great medicine for the winter doldrums (aka seasonal affective disorder). Enough to put a smile on one’s face and a hop in their step. Bummer about the bull and barbed wire.

    1. Well, if there’s a bull in the neighborhood, I’m just as happy to have a bit of fencing around it. Of course, even fencing isn’t foolproof. There’s a good amount of range land between the entrance to the Brazoria refuge and the refuge itself. Ranchers run cattle on that land, and occasionally one that’s clever gets out. One weekend, we found a cow happily munching away on the grasses next to the refuge’s butterfly garden. It’s always something.

      Nothing seems to bother the buttercups, though. They’re toxic to cattle and horses, which avoid them if other forage is available. That works out nicely for us, because it allows the flowers to linger a bit longer than they would if they were the equivalent of cattle candy.

    1. Getting ready for spring, are you? Having checked your weekend weather, I imagine so — you’re going to be really cold! I’m just grateful for this “little spring” we have right now. There’s going to be plenty of cold and gloom for us before winter’s over –at least we hope so. It’s good for the fruit trees, and we always hope it kills some mosquitos (although that seems to be a myth).

    1. I always remember yours, with the ice around them. They are amazing flowers, but I’m not sure they’re as appreciated as they should be. They get dumped in the ‘weed’ category, and then ignored. I just learned today that there are 18 buttercup species in Texas. I need to pay more attention myself, and see how many I can find around here.

  6. That phrase about discretion being the better part of valor springs to mind, although a field full of buttercups with a bull in the middle of it is a pretty interesting image of its own.

    1. Did you read the story of Ferdinand the Bull when you were young? the story of the bull who preferred flowers to fighting? Munro Leaf, he of the books about manners, and Gerald McBoingBoing, was the author. It was one of my favorite stories. Little did I imagine I’d find just such a bull in a flowery pasture sixty-five years later. I tried for a photo of the bull, too, but he was keeping to the treeline, and wasn’t ready for a photo shoot.

  7. Winter can have beautiful colors, as your images show. I realize now there are several blooms with the ‘buttercup’ designation, but this seems to be the real one.

    1. It’s common here in Texas for people to call the pink evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa) a buttercup. I suppose the practice might have developed because there are yellow primroses that are similar to buttercups in some ways.

      I’ve read that there are eighteen species of buttercup spread around the state. I suspect these might be Ranunculus fascicularis, the early buttercup, or R. hispidus, the bristly buttercup. I couldn’t get close enough to check out the leaf details and such, but the bristly buttercup likes water, and there was water aplenty where these were growing. ‘Early’ speaks for itself. You can’t get much earlier in the year than January.

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