The ranunculus genus has about four hundred herbaceous, perennial and annual species; buttercups are widespread in nature in Europe, Asia and Africa. In Italian meadows and woods, buttercups are present in numerous spontaneous species, with simple or semi-double flowers, usually yellow or white. In the gardens they grow hybrids of a species of Asian origin, as the name says, the ranunculus asiaticus. This species is perennial, rhizomatous, and produces large jagged leaves at the beginning of the spring and numerous flowers that are very double, roundish, with a dark or golden center. For a greater color effect in general i buttercups they are planted in the garden very close, so that they give the impression of producing flowers almost in bunches, even if in reality the floral stems, fleshy and erect, generally carry only one flower.
In this article we will discuss in particular the buttercups tuberoses, very common both as garden plants and as cut flowers: they are part of a very broad genus that also includes many herbaceous plants. The word ranunculus comes from the Greek and literally means "frog": it refers to the natural environments in which these plants thrive, therefore marshy areas, swampy or in any case where both atmospheric and ground-level humidity are very high. Spontaneous in Italy are the ficara, the aquatilis and the divaricatus. Here, however, we will only speak extensively of asiaticus, widely used in gardens and a subject of great interest by the floriculture industry. In fact, in Italy (especially on the Riviera dei Fiori) it is one of the most studied plants. The breeders have gone in search of increasingly double and large flower heads and extravagant or very pure colors, all to satisfy the desires of an increasingly demanding public.
|Family and gender|
Ranuncolaceae, gen. Ranunculus, sp. Orientalis or asiaticus
|Type of plant||Tuberose, up to 35 cm high|
|Exposure||Full sun, half shade|
|Ground||Loose, rich, well-drained|
|colors||All (even the green), except blue|
|Irrigation||Quite frequent, without stagnation|
|Flowering||From spring to summer|
|Composting||Every 20 days from spring to summer|
The rhizomes of the buttercups are of medium or small size, they settle in a rich and deep soil, very soft and drained, which allows the thin roots to develop without finding obstacles; in fact these flowers fear the compact and clayey soils, where they generally tend to bloom scarce and discontinuously. The rhizomes are planted in autumn in areas with a mild climate, and in late winter in areas with cold winters; the ranunculus rhizomes fear the frost, and the permanence in the frozen soil often causes the rot; they have a cylindrical shape, and are clustered in numbers of 5-9, attached in a group, like an umbrella, which is generally called a paw; the buttercup legs are buried, take them flat and position them at a depth of about 5-9 cm, depending on the size of the rhizome.
These are herbaceous plants with prevalent spring and summer development, so during the autumn and winter months they generally do not require treatment; as soon as we notice the buttercup sprouts it is advisable to water the plants, and periodically check that the soil does not dry completely, or that it remains dry for prolonged periods of time.
After flowering the plants form large clumps of leaves, which are to be watered occasionally, but generally only in case of scarce rains. When the leaves begin to dry up it is possible to cut them at the base and eventually unearth the rhizomes, to divide them or to put them back for the winter.
When planting, the soil is enriched with organic fertilizer, or with slow-release granular fertilizer; if we live in an area where buttercups winter in the ground we can supply granular fertilizer at the end of winter; this fertilization will be sufficient for the whole vegetative period of the plants.
In autumn we can divide the rhizomes, trying to maintain well-developed roots for each portion practiced; after the division we can put the rhizomes back in place, or we can put them in a fabric bag, with sawdust, and keep them in a dark and cool place until the end of winter.
It is a herbaceous plant from 25 to 35 cm high. The root is tuberous, dark and spider-shaped. The leaves are bright green. The basal ones appear oval, while the others are deeply engraved (as in the whole genus). The cultivars on the market produce flowers of various shapes, with a diameter that can range from 2 to 5 cm. The colors present are pink, red, lilac, white, yellow, orange, brown and even green. There are specimens with streaks and spots, or with contrasting edges.
EVOLUTION OF THE FLOWER FORM
|PERSIAN||Simple or double flowers|
|FRENCH||Double or semi-double flowers|
|TURBAN (A TURBAN)||Very large double flowers|
|IN FLOWERS OF PEONIA||Very double and large flowers|