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Buttercups (Ranunculus) are members a large genus of about 600 species of plants in the Ranunculaceae. Other members of the genus include spearworts, water crowfoots and the lesser celandine. All of these are mostly herbaceous perennials with bright yellow or white flowers (if white, still with a yellow centre); some are annuals or biennials. A few species have orange or red flowers. There are usually five petals, but sometimes six, numerous, or none, as in R. auricomus. The petals are often highly lustrous, especially in yellow species. Buttercups usually flower in the spring, but flowers may be found throughout the summer, especially where the plants are growing as opportunistic colonisers, as in the case of garden weeds.

Fair is the kingcup that in meadow blows.
The buttercups, bright-eyed and bold,
Held up their chalices of gold
To catch the sunshine and the dew.


  • He likes the poor things of the world the best,
    I would not, therefore, if I could be rich.
    It pleases him to stoop for buttercups.
  • Light gatherer. You fell from a star
    into my lap, the soft lamp at the bedside
    mirrored in you,
    and now you shine like a snowgirl,
    a buttercup under a chin, the wide blue yonder
    you squeal at and fly in.
  • "Dear robin," said this sad young flower,
    "Perhaps you'd not mind trying
    To find a nice white frill for me,
    Some day when you are flying?"

    "You silly thing!" the robin said;
    "I think you must be crazy!
    I'd rather be my honest self
    Than any made-up daisy.

    "You're nicer in your own bright gown,
    The little children love you;
    Be the best buttercup you can,
    And think no flower above you.

    "Though swallows leave me out of sight,
    We'd better keep our places;
    Perhaps the world would all go wrong
    With one too many daisies.

    "Look bravely up into the sky,
    And be content with knowing
    That God wished for a buttercup
    Just here, where you are growing."

    • Sarah Orne Jewett, "Discontent", in St. Nicholas Magazine, volume 3 (February 1876), p. 247.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 88.
  • The royal kingcup bold
    Dares not don his coat of gold.
  • All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
    The buttercups, the little children's dower.
    • Robert Browning, Home Thoughts. From Abroad.
  • The buttercups, bright-eyed and bold,
    Held up their chalices of gold
    To catch the sunshine and the dew.
  • Fair is the kingcup that in meadow blows,
    Fair is the daisy that beside her grows.
    • John Gay, Shepherd's Week, Monday, line 43.
  • Against her ankles as she trod
    The lucky buttercups did nod.
  • And O the buttercups! that field
    O' the cloth of gold, where pennons swam ,
    Where France set up his lilied shield,
    His oriflamb,
    And Henry's lion-standard rolled:
    What was it to their matchless sheen,
    Their million million drops of gold
    Among the green!
  • The buttercups across the field
    Made sunshine rifts of splendor.
  • When buttercups are blossoming,
    The poets sang, 'tis best to wed:
    So all for love we paired in Spring ,
    Blanche and I, ere youth had sped.

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