Buttercup flower meaning using myths and beliefs

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The buttercup flower meaning links to its myth, folklore, history and beliefs.

The buttercup flowers are part of the Ranunculaceae family which counts around 600 species.

In this blog we’ll explore the buttercup flower meaning in details using myths, history, uses and beliefs.

What is the buttercup flower meaning?

The buttercup flower symbolises ambition, memories of childhood and self esteem. The botanical name Ranunculus is Latin and a diminutive of rana. This translates to little frogs. It was probably because many of the species grew in places where frogs abound. The golden colour of the flower made it a symbol for riches. All the varieties of this flower falls under the dominion of the planet Mars.

Additionally, a common name for the buttercup flower is “crowfoot”. This name comes from the shape of the leaves. The deeply cleft segments of the leaves reminded them of the toes of a crow.

What does the Persian buttercup flower mean?

The Persian Buttercup or Ranunculus Asiaticus symbolises attractiveness, memories linked to childhood, verbal communication and radiant with charm. Moreover, they are known for their long lasting cut flower.

The variety of the Persian Ranunculus is a garden flower and the Turks cultivated it under the name of Taroholos Catamarlale.

It was grown there for several ages before the flowers were ever known in Europe.

Cara Mustapha was Vizier and he first noticed the flower in a field. He decorated the garden of Seraglio with it and the flower in turn attracted the attention of the Sultan.

The latter brought several other varieties from different parts of the East.

The variety of the Ranunculus were preserved there in the Seraglio gardens and through bribery some of the roots found their way into parts of Europe.

Buttercup flowers

Buttercup flower in Greek mythology

In Greek mythology the word Ranunculus comes from a youth. This youth was noted for his gorgeous clothing which were always of green and yellow coloured silk.

His melodious voice didn’t go unnoticed either it charmed everyone he encountered including himself.

One day he was in the woods singing to a group of wood nymphs and he became so entranced with his own music that he died in ecstasy.

Consequently, Orpheus transformed him into the Ranunculus flower.

However, René Rapin writes the this story was originally from a young Libyan who was renowned for his sweet voice.

Aries and Scorpio birth flower

The buttercup as previously mentioned is under the dominion of the planet Mars. They will make a great birth flower gift.

Mars traditionally rules both the sign of Aries and Scorpio. However, later Scorpio’s ruling planet will become Pluto.

The botanical name of the Meadow buttercup flower is Ranunculus acris. The word acris is the reason why this flower comes under the dominion of Mars.

Meadow Buttercups uses and beliefs

The juice of the Buttercup plant contains a toxin called Ranunculus which causes inflammation and blistering.

The plant is so toxic that even when pulling it up or carrying it with bare hands can cause soreness and blisters.

The caustic nature of the Meadow Buttercups made it a cure for warts. The caustic juice could easily burn away growths.

Meadow Buttercup

In Ireland on May Day in a ceremony, Meadow Buttercups were rubbed on the cow’s udders.

It was due to the belief that the buttercup would impart a good colour to the butter or that the quality of the milk would improve.

However, if cows eat buttercups their milk becomes tainted. Additionally, cows avoid buttercups because of its caustic nature.

It was perhaps because buttercups grows in fertile and rich soil which was also good for grass to grow. Therefore, cows would eat that grass and give a good quality of milk.

In Ancient times beggars would use the acrid properties of the plant to their advantage. Moreover, they would purposely cause blisters in order to gain more pity from people.

Medicinal uses of buttercup flowers

  • The buttercup flower also has a counter irritant property which made it possible for medicinal use. It was used in Chinese medicine.

  • Buttercups were used as a remedy for rheumatism by pounding the leaves and applying it as a poultice.

  • It was used as an internal medicine against worms.

  • In Ireland the juice of the buttercup was used for the treatment of jaundice.

  • It was used as a homeopathic tincture taken internally for shingles.

  • The plant was also known as Stumea by Latin herbalists. It was used by them to treat something similar to Tuberculous lymphadenitis.

  • It was also used as a cure for lunacy by placing it around the necks of the patients in a linen cloth. This was done when the moon was in the first degrees of either the sign of Taurus or Scorpio.

Buttercup flower meaning

If you liked our blog on the Buttercup flower meaning then make sure to check out our other blog on Anemone flower meaning from Ranunculus family.


Cumo, C. (Ed.). (2013). Encyclopedia of Cultivated Plants [3 volumes]: From Acacia to Zinnia. ABC-CLIO.

Dietz, S. T. (2022). The complete language of flowers the complete language of flowers: A definitive and illustrated history – pocket edition. Wellfleet Press.

Thiselton Dyer, T. F. (1994). Folklore of Plants. Llanerch Press.

Watts, D., & Watts, D. C. (2007). Dictionary of Plant Lore. Academic Press.

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