Buttercup 101

  • Posted on 07/26/2016 by Laura

Like many other yellow flowers, the buttercup is a symbol of friendliness as well as happiness. This may be a flower to give to your son or daughter, than your significant other.


The buttercup flower has several meanings. They all revolve around light and happy thoughts like neatness, self-worth, confidence, trust, loving-kindness, appreciation, childishness, and fun. There are a couple of less positive meanings such as ingratitude and desire for riches. The meaning of ingratitude comes from areas in which buttercups are considered weeds. These flowers can also be given to someone that you want to say “your charm dazzles me” to.

The common yellow buttercup is a symbol for new beginnings, joy, happiness, and friendship.

The green buttercup represents optimism, good fortune, health, renewal, and youth.

Myths & Legends

The buttercup is sometimes called “Coyote’s eyes.” The legend tells that as a coyote tossed his eyes up into the air, an eagle snatched them away. As he was no longer able to see, he turned some nearby buttercup flowers into eyes.

The buttercup, belonging to the ranunculus genus, has a legend of its own. Ranunculus was a young youth from Libya who was known for the beautiful yellow and green garments he wore and his beautiful singing voice. As he sang to a few wood nymphs, e became so entranced by his own singing voice that he collapsed and died. Orpheus, who felt connect to Ranunculus because of their musical abilities, turned his body into a little buttercup flower to forever immortalize him.

The buttercup flower improves the quality of cow’s milk. Apparently, if cows graze on buttercups the milk they then produce is creamier, richer, and pretty much the most flavorful kind of milk. This legend is likely untrue as buttercups are actually toxic to cows.

Some believe because of the flower’s association with childhood, the flower can give its bearer a greater connection to nature and the fairy realm. And in yet another legend, fairies are responsible for bringing buttercups into the world. A group of fairies saw an old grumpy man, who was carrying a bag filled with gold, crossing the field. The fairies stopped him to ask him for alms, but the miser refused and walked away. He hadn’t noticed that the fairies used a blade of grass to cut a whole in his bag. As he walked he unknowingly dropped coins and scattered them in the grass. Buttercups grew from these coins.


As mentioned before concerning cows, the buttercup maintains toxicity and can causes upset stomach in farm animals. However, for humans it’s quite a different story. Native Americans have used the flower’s roots in treating boils, eczema, warts, and many other skin condition.


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