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Ranunculus has its origins in the middle east. It is a genus containing about 600 species of plants. Ranunculus is a part of the Ranunculaceae family. Some examples of the plants belonging to the genus includes the buttercups, water crowfoots and the lesser celandine. Today, these flowers thrive throughout the world, in both eastern and western gardens.

Ranunculus flowers is the epitome of charm and charisma. A bouquet of these flowers is supposed to convey the message “ I am dazzled by your charms”. These flowers are found in a wide array of brilliant colors, including pure white, red, orange, yellow, pink and gold. They usually have five papery thin petals. The flower is extremely full and tightly packed with petals. The bright colors and multi-layered petals of these flowers make it impossible for anyone to not fall in love with it.

Speciality: The bulbs of these plants are many times cheaper than that of other plants. In Walmart, one can get 30 tubers for $8. They are comparatively easy to plant and grow. These plants can withstand light frosts, strong sun ,and mild dryness. They are tough enough to survive with no special care. They bulbs of Ranunculus have to be placed 2 inches beneath the surface while other bulbs have to be place 6-7 inches deep. They propagate very fast. It is possible to get nine new tubers from a single ranunculus in one year while other bulbs like daffodils and tulips only triple the number of bulbs. In addition, these plants resist frost damage and are available in a range of colors. They also make perfect cut flowers as they survive a week after getting cut. Also, these bulbs quickly sprout and ensure winter-long greenery when planted in the fall.

Mythology: The name Ranunculus in late Latin means "little frog," The meaning of “Rana” in late Latin is "frog". In fairy tales frogs are often found to be turned into a prince. This is thought to be the connection between the story of the prince and the origin of the name Ranunculus.

Once upon a time there lived an Asian prince. He was very good-looking. He had a lovely voice and sang beautiful songs in the presence of nymphs. One day, he met a nymph and fell in love with her. They met often but he could not bring himself to declare his love for her. This haunted him so bad that he soon died. When he died, he was transformed into the delicate tissue-like flowers that bears his name.

The association of the meaning of the word Ranunculus with frog is thought to be because these flowers are generally found in swampy areas, like the frogs.

Variety: The genus Ranunculus contains about 600 species. Each species inhibits different characteristics from the other. Some species have orange or red flowers while it is different in others. Flowers of a certain species might have five petals while the other might have six or even none. Ranunculus are found to be annual or perennial. The leaves may be lobed, toothed or finely divided. The famous species are:

Ranunuculus Asiaticus: They are also known as the Persian buttercup. They have been crossed from generation to generations to produce large, brightly colored varieties with double lustrous flowers. They can be grown as annuals in hot climates and are also popular as cut flowers.

Lesser Celandine: This is another popular Ranunculus species which are native to Asia and Europe. They are found to be 10 inches tall and the flower spreads up to 12 inches. The flowers are believed to have nine petals. They prefer moist soil and shady sites.

Ranunculus Bloomingdale: Ranunculus bloomingdale is famous for its unique flower structure. It is double flowered, which means that a single flower consists of a tiny flower within it . The flowers are lustrous and densely petalled. They are found in a wide array of colors. They can be grown in pots too.

Cultivation: A sunny spot that has moist soil and receives full sunlight should be chosen to plant the bulb. Ranunculus thrive when cultivated under full sun and the soil with pH 6.5 is the best. Ranunculus requires excellent drainage. A 2 inches deep hole should be dug for every piece of ranunculus bulb and there should be a gap of 3 inches between two consecutive bulbs. They should not be planted during frost. The area should be watered deeply. The blooms can be cut as often as desired to. Flowers are to be cut when they are fully colored and just about to open. The ranunculus bulbs should be dug and stored in a cool and dry area. The bulbs shouldn’t be touching when stored.

Caution: Ranunculus can not withstand temperature higher than 65 F. They begin to go dormant and can not bloom no more. When it comes to storing the bulbs, care should be taken. If the humidity of the air in which these bulbs are stored is high, the bulbs begin to get infected by fungus. If the humidity is low, the bulbs dry out. Thus they must be kept in cool place. Many species belonging to the Ranunculus genus are known to have toxic properties. They contain chemicals which act as a poison to animals. Thus they should be handled with care. Gloves should be worn when the flower is being handled.

Care: These plants suffer from many root diseases. Watering them prevents this from happening. However, the soil should be moist not wet. If the deadheads of the stem are removed the plant blossoms more effectively resulting bigger and more quantity of flowers. Fertilizers rich in phosphorous should be applied every week to the plant.

Toxicity: It has been found that many species of the buttercup genus are toxic. Species like buttercup are toxic. These plants are known to cause blistering on the tongue if eaten. These plant were used since the olden days. These plants are capable of opening a wound and hence were used by the beggars to gain sympathy from fellow passer-bys. Cattles are prone to poisoning by these plants during their grazing session. Symptoms of poisoning are diarrhea and blistering.

Uses: The plants belonging to the Ranunculus genus are known to have both medicinal and homeopathic uses. Bulbous buttercup is known to ease back ache and spine stiffness. It also cures bronchitis and rheumatism. Moreover, it is thought to have stress resolving power. It eases the symptoms of many diseases and reduces blistering effects on the skin. Another flower known as crowfoot was used as a therapeutic medicine since the distant past. It is known to have the chemicals that treat ulcers and burns. The chemicals have also shown the capacity to cure vaginal disorders.

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