Ranunculus may not be as popular or as well-known as the tulip or peony, two of its competitors, but it comes out tops in terms of beauty. Its densely double flowers, reminiscent of shrub roses, are made up of wafer-thin leaves that look almost too perfect to be real. When it starts to bloom, you know summer is not far away. In the Victorian era, the ranunculus symbolized charm and was considered the flower of seduction and beauty. Today, it is experiencing a renaissance, especially as a cut flower and is enriching with its elegant, timelessly beautiful appearance.

Ranunculus (Ranunculus asiaticus), also known as Asian buttercup, is an ornamental plant from the buttercup genus Ranunculus and belongs to the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. More than 600 different species are currently known, which enrich terraces and gardens either as annuals or perennials worldwide. They are available in various sizes and shapes, which shine in all their glory from March to June and offer a real firework of colour.

The original wild form is still characterized by single, bright flowers with five to seven petals. Thanks to decades of breeding, the flowers are now lush and almost spherical in appearance with a wide range of colors, from white to yellow, orange, pink, crimson and deep purple. One of the best-known varieties are the Turkish one, also known as turban ranunculus, that has bulging flowers, the Persian, which is less dense, the French, with large flowers and almost leafless stems, and lastly, the peony ranunculus from Italy, which has large flowers similar to peonies.

The name ranunculus is a combination of the two Latin words rana, which means small frog, and unculus, the trivialization of it. So it’s a little frog, but why the name? This refers to its natural habitat, because it likes muddy and damp soil and prefers to stay on riverbanks and in swampy areas, just like frogs.

Ranunculus is native to the eastern Mediterranean region, North Africa and adjacent Southwest Asia. They are said to have been first discovered in the 13th century by the early Crusaders in the Holy Land, and were plant- ed in the gardens of the rulers of the Ottoman Empire soon after. There they became very popular and targeted breeding gave rise to the turban ranunculus, which actu- ally resembled an oriental headgear.

Read the full article in Issue 17

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