Two of the common buttercups found in North Carolina are hairy buttercup and bulbous buttercup. Hairy buttercup appears to be predominant in the Piedmont and mountain regions, while bulbous buttercup is readily found in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain regions. Hairy buttercup is a hairy plant with erect, hairy stems (single or branching from the base) and a fibrous root system. Vegetative characteristics of hairy buttercup are similar to those of bulbous buttercup, except for the bulb-like swelling at the base of the stem on bulbous buttercup. Smallflower buttercup is also found in North Carolina, and can be distinguished from hairy buttercup by the lack of hairs on its leaves. In addition, hairy and bulbous buttercup have lobed leaves, whereas most of the lower leaves of smallflower buttercup are unlobed.
Winter annual broadleaf weeds germinate in the fall or winter and grow during any warm weather, which may occur in the winter, but otherwise remain somewhat dormant during the winter. They resume growth and produce seed in the spring and die as temperatures increase in late spring and early summer. They quickly invade thin turf areas especially where there is good soil moisture. Shade may also encourage growth. Many have a prostrate growth habit and are not affected by mowing. A dense, vigorous turf is the best way to reduce the encroachment of winter annual weeds. First, select adapted turfgrass cultivars for your area and then properly fertilize, mow, and water to encourage dense growth.
Growth Season/Life Cycle
winter annual or perennial weed
dense on both upper and lower surface
1/2 - 2 inches