Pillows of Perfection

Cape Cod Life  /  April 2023 /

Writer: Kelly Cloonan

With a beauty that is hard to resist, the ranunculus flower got its name from a combination of two Latin words, rana, meaning frog, and unculus, which translates to little. These fascinating blooms are also known as buttercup or Coyote eyes. Everyone knows that April showers bring May flowers. But author Naomi Slade knows that some flowers might bloom even earlier; in her new book Ranunculus: Beautiful Varieties for Home and Garden, Slade celebrates the Ranunculus, a genus of flower, which contains a diverse array of buttercups that tend to bloom in early spring. Buttercups thrive in environments ranging from aquatic wetlands, to the edges of woodlands, to alpine peaks as high as 13,000 feet. In northern Europe, ranunculus wildflowers are plentiful, and even in Australia, South and Central Africa, and North America, there exist unique varieties. Fossil research shows the genus may have been around for as long as 125 million years—meaning there has been plenty of time for some 2,000 varieties of flowers to develop within the ranunculus family (the plant family home to the Ranunculus genus). Some varieties of Ranunculus, like the Persian buttercups Fanny or Rosa Striato, have been cultivated by florists for years and are praised as excellent cut flowers. Other varieties, like the common buttercup, are sometimes treated as weeds when left to develop naturally in fields and backyard gardens. With all this variation comes differences in the ways each type prefers to be cared for and cultivated, but most ranunculus enjoy sunny spots in the garden and tend to bloom in spring and early summer. Fanny The Fanny, with its large bulb-like shape and tightly-grouped petals, has a different look from most ranunculus. Its ruffled pink and green petals exude a strong personality of glam and confidence, and their long stems and large…

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