This, also known as the ‘Tall buttercup,’ is one of the commonest of the buttercup range. It loves to grow in damp meadows and pastures. It can also be found in roadside verges, ditches and open woodland through Scotland.
It is very similar to the creeping buttercup, but the flower stalks are longer, growing up to a metre tall. Unlike the creeping buttercup the meadow variety doesn’t produce runners. The stalks are smooth and unfurrowed, to further distinguish the meadow buttercup from the creeping or bulbous varieties, whose stalks are hairy and furrowed.
The flowers are 15-25mm in diameter, with green sepals held upright against the flower heads. They have five golden-yellow overlapping petals. The vibrant glowing colour of buttercups, remembered in the child’s game of shining a buttercup under the chin, is produced by the cells, which are unusually mirror flat, unlike other flower petals which have finely corrugated cells. This makes the petals distinctively glossy and reflective. They also reflect UV light which helps attract bees and other pollinating insects.
Leaves are softly haired, and deeply divided into from three to seven narrow toothed lobes.
After flowering the heads ripen into a tight cluster of single-seeded, egg-shaped fruits held together in a round head.