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Water Buttercups And Silkworms - A Lace Miracle For Water Bodies

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The touching, pretty, despite its simplicity, surprisingly bright blooms of garden buttercups are a favorite sight in many people's flower beds and squares. But buttercups are not just crops that can settle in decorative ensembles in ordinary garden soil. Among the huge number of diverse species, you will find plants that prefer wet soils and even their immersion in water. Water buttercups -not so numerous, but an indispensable group of species, capable of becoming a touching decoration of any body of water.

Water buttercups and silkworms - a lace miracle for water bodies
Aquatic buttercup (Ranunculus aquatilis)

Diversity of water buttercups

Water buttercups often call all plants of the genus Ranunculus, Although they grow near ponds, the name Water Buttercup is actually only for one plant, which prefers to live in shallow or deeper waters. Several species of buttercups are used today to decorate ponds, which are the easiest to divide (according to the depth of planting and the conditions that suit them best) - into plants for shores only or coastal areas, shallow water or deep water.

Let's get to know the best species of aquatic buttercups up close

One of the brightest yellow-flowered buttercups with large flowers - longleaf buttercup (Ranunculus lingua) can grow on shore, in a marsh or with slight waterlogging. This is a showy and large herbaceous perennial that forms root buds that depart from unusual nodes and root-like underground shoots. It produces large enough stems 0.5-1.5 m tall with elongated internodes, hollow, straight and rather thick.

The long leaves, up to 30 cm long and only 5 cm wide, are the reason the buttercup gets its species name. But the most attractive feature of the plant is still its flowering. The large, up to 5 cm in diameter flowers are painted a sunny yellow, dazzling color, which perfectly emphasizes the bright yellow color of the stamens, which form a peculiar circle in the center. Five perfectly droplet-shaped petals form a simple but wonderfully picturesque flower.

The long-leaf buttercup begins flowering in June and usually lasts until midsummer. After flowering, fairly small inflorescences with an upwardly hooked spout are formed. Fruits have time to ripen even in the middle belt, and the period of fruiting begins in July and completely finishes in August.

There are three spectacular species of water loving buttercups:

Water buttercup (Ranunculus aquatilis), which without exaggeration is one of the most favorite and versatile water cultures. Aquatic buttercup can settle in shallow water, a depth of only 20 cm, it will withstand immersion and up to 2 m. This plant is suitable for absolutely any body of water - both for shallow graceful and variegated streams, and for small or medium-sized ponds, and for huge, water pools.

Moreover, water buttercup looks great in any style of landscape design and, besides natural gardens, can fit in the appearance and regular water bodies. In contrast to the long-leafed buttercup, the water buttercup is a small plant, but evergrowing. Forming two types of leaves - above-water and underwater, water buttercup plays a role not only to decorate the surface of the reservoir, but also performs an important function of ecosystem stabilizer, water purifier, aerator and competitor of algae.

The underwater leaves are hair-like, thin, similar to other deep sea inhabitants, but the above-water leaves are very beautiful, the most resemble clover by their tripartite, almost rounded shape and bright color. Water buttercups bloom in early June, producing pedicels 3-10 cm tall from the water surface rising above the surface and crowned with inflorescences, which bring together less than large but very beautiful white flowers with a glowing bright yellow center. © Rene Janssen

Water buttercups and silkworms - a lace miracle for water bodies
Gmelin's buttercup (Ranunculus gmelinii)
Water buttercups and silkworms - a lace miracle for water bodies
The water buttercup (Ranunculus aquatilis). © Hans Hillewaert

Gmelin's buttercup (Ranunculus gmelinii) - one of the most compact species, able to settle in shallow water, which beautifies with carved, not large, but very brightly colored leaves and small yellow flowers, collected in loose brushes, very reminding classical garden buttercups.

Ranunculus polyphyllus (Ranunculus polyphyllus), like the Gmelin buttercup, is a beauty with carved, narrow leaves. But they sit on long stalks, lobed, gathered in whorls, which somewhat conceals their natural shape. This buttercup is more suitable for shallow water, it cannot put up with strong submergence, but it adorns itself with bright yellow flowers, which small diameter is compensated by very beautiful shape.

Silkwort, which is often called in another way - Water Buttercup (Batrachium), long ago allocated as a separate subgenus in genus Ranunculus, but still remains a buttercup inhabiting deep water. Batrachiums, or silkworms, are aquatic plants, possessing either only submerged or floating and submerged leaves simultaneously. They have very variable foliage (from filamentous to lobed or even pinnately dissected leaves), the flowers are always solitary, quite pretty, blooming in such numbers that the covering of this water buttercup in the pond appears to be a solid carpet of flowers or chintz.

Batrachium hairy (or water buttercup hairy, its botanical name is actively disputed, and both Batrachium trichophyllum and Batrachium aquatile var. trichophyllum are considered equal) is the only species used as an ornamental crop. It can live at a depth of 1.5-2 m, and under short drying out of water bodies in natural conditions it transforms into a land form.

This perennial plant is rooted on bottom sediments. The height and size of the silkworm depends on the depth of submergence. Fan-shaped, finely lobed, underwater leaves with a dark green coloration are characterized by a rather stiff texture and outside the water create the impression of a continuous openwork carpet. The pedicels are only slightly longer than the leaves and appear more powerful compared to their individual lobes.

They are crowned with miniature, up to 1.5 cm flowers of perfect five-petal shape with obovate petals and sickle-shaped nectaries, gloriously contrasted by a brilliant white halo around a bright yellow center. Externally, the flowers of this plant are often compared to strawberry blossoms. Silkwort blooms in May but can last all summer long into the fall. Some catalogs sometimes present Water and Co. mulberry as a separate species, but they belong to the "true" buttercups, and actually we speak of the water buttercup (see above).

The water buttercups are used in garden design:

  • as one of the best plants to enrich water with oxygen, suppress the development of algae and pathogenic fungi;
  • as one of the most colorful green decorations of shallow and deep waters;
  • as a summer flowering accent and the basis for design of streams and ponds;
  • as a filler plant between solists and spectacular flowering crops.
Water buttercups and silkworms - a lace miracle for water bodies
Batrachium trichophyllum. © Christian Fischer

Partner selection for water buttercup and company

Silkwort and silkwort combine perfectly with all the plants used in pond design without exception. They bring wild charm and natural touches even to a regular style, with buttercups not at all seeming too simple or unsightly. Of course, it is very difficult to call them flashy and showy, but they are universal plants, which give the pond a stable decorativeness, brightness during the whole active garden season.

Conditions necessary for water buttercups

All kinds of water loving buttercups, suitable for the pond design, feel equally well in the sun and in penumbra, except the sun-loving buttercup water. But even it can boast of endurance, cold tolerance, unpretentiousness and surprising simplicity of care. © Cptcv

Peculiarities of planting water buttercups

Water buttercups are better planted in containers, not directly in the soil. Water buttercup and water silkwort in standing water can simply be lowered into the water, and they will self-root, forming buds that can persist until the next spring in all winters. Depth of planting is chosen according to the species.

Care for water buttercups

As such, care for buttercups almost does not need. The only thing you can't do without due to the strong growth of the plant is regular thinning. As soon as the plant becomes aggressive, will go beyond his allotted territory or will interfere with you or neighboring cultures, it can be gently thinned and remove some of the shoots.

In addition, it is very important in the fall after the upper parts of the plant will die, remove all the remains from the surface of the pond. But this procedure is no different from cleaning ponds from plant debris from other shallow and deep water plants.

Wintering of water buttercups and protection measures

Silkwort and buttercups living in ponds are winter-hardy plants and do not need protection from frost. As well as in any special preparation for cold season.

Pests and diseases do not bother water buttercups. © Chmee2

Methods for propagating aquatic buttercups

All species of aquatic buttercups and silkworms can be propagated vegetatively or by seed. Separation of shore plants or stem segments of shallow and deep water buttercups will help to obtain new specimens. Cut off the stem together with the root in the spring or in early summer, immediately planted in containers and placed in a pond, secured with stones. The shoots root and grow quite quickly, and by the arrival of winter they have time to form renewal buds. The propagation method is typical for all aquatic plants.