Pronounced ran-UN-kew-lus. The Latin name ranunculus means “little frog”. The elegant ranunculus derives its name from the Latin word rana, meaning “frog”–hardly the picture these dainty blooms typically bring to mind. The name refers not to the flowers’ appearance, but to the moist environments in which they typically grow. Commonly called buttercup or crowfoot, ranunculuses are members of the Ranunculaceae family, and are related to peonies, acontiums, aquilegias and anemones.
In fairy tales frogs are apt to change into princes and it was an Asian prince in just such a story who gave his name to this flower, which grows naturally in swampy ground. The prince was so good-looking that he was loved by everyone. He also had a beautiful voice but this was his undoing. He loved the open country and sang delightful songs in the presence of nymphs. He did not have the courage to declare his love to them and this haunted him so much that he died. After his death he was changed into the flower with delicate tissuey petals which bears his name.
Language of Flowers: Meant “you are rich in attractions” to the Victorians.
The Middle East, hence their alternative name “Turban Buttercup”. A cousin of the marsh marigold, a member of the buttercup family, they have tuberous roots and hollow stems.
Availability and Vase Life Florists typically use the double-flowered ranunculus form, with its profusion of thin, closely spaced petals. Gently bending stems covered with soft, fuzzy hair and sparse foliage support these flowers, which are available in white, yellow, orange, red, pink and violet.
In the Mediterranean climate these flowers prefer, ranunculuses bloom from late September through March. Florists will find the blooms available from February through May from California and Colombian growers, and March through June from the Netherlands. With proper care, ranunculuses can enjoy a vase life of 5-7 days.Care and Handling
Ranunculuses are delicate blooms. In nature, they’re intolerant of temperature extremes and in designs, the blooms can fade quickly. To ensure maximum vase life, florists should cut ranunculus stems under water and remove any foliage that will fall below the waterline immediately upon receipt. An anti-ethylene treatment, such as MCP gas, should be applied for the length of time indicated on the product’s label.Design Uses
Ranunculuses are best suited as accent, rather than focal, flowers in designs. The blooms may be dried by hanging them upside down in small bunches after stripping the leaves from the stems.
Following treatment, transfer ranunculuses to a clean container filled with a properly prepared fresh flower-food solution. The flowers should be stored in a 34-36 F cooler.