Friday, April 9, 2010

Little Yellow Frogs

Butter-yellow flowers are blooming in my backyard, sprinkled through the grass. The variety appearing in the subdivision is so short that it escapes the blades of the lawn mower. A friend denounced the sunny blooms as “broad-leafed weeds”.  I pointed out that they are native wildflowers called Buttercups or Ranunculus spp.. Their name is Latin for “little frog”. Perhaps they were dubbed Ranunculus because they tend to grow in wet areas and in ditches.     The Buttercups I see on the prairie are much taller, up two feet. My wildflower book says there are about five species of Ranunculus . They are especially beautiful because in the sun, the yellow petals shine like glazed porcelain. Some people think they look wet. Touch one gently; you will find it smooth and dry.

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