Integrated Pest Management

Bur Buttercup

Ranunculus testiculatus

Bur Buttercup

Bur buttercup (Bonnie Million, National Park Service,

Bur Buttercup

Bur buttercup lateral habit (USDA Forest Service, Wikimedia Commons)

Bur Buttercup

Bur buttercup fruit (Curtis Clark, Wikimedia Commons)



  • low-growing plant with light green, antler-looking leaves covered with white hairs
  • small bright yellow flowers are singly produced on the tips of leafless stalks which grow taller than the leaves
  • five petal flowers are succeeded by oval-shaped, spiny burs; each bur produces 5 to 80 seeds
  • summer annual with germination in early spring when temperatures reach 41°F


  • commonly grows in planting beds and lawn areas

Life Cycle

  • flowers are produced within 3 weeks of germination followed by burs
  • plant foliage dries, turns brown and becomes brittle by early summer

IPM Recommendations

  • Hand-pull plants in planting beds prior to seed maturation.
  • Shallow tillage or hoeing will control young plants in planting beds.
  • Apply a mulch layer 3 inches deep on planting beds to reduce seed germination.
  • Apply an appropriate post-emergent broadleaf herbicide directly to target weeds.