Smallflower Buttercup

Description

Smallflower buttercup may resemble a wild violet in its early growth, but later in the life cycle it produces upright stems that are slender and branch from the base of the plant. Lower leaves are dark green and rounded, while upper leaves are a brighter green and elongate with occasional lobes. Flowers, which appear from April to August, are tiny and yellow with five petals. The plant can grow to heights of 6 - 24 inches. Smallflower buttercup reproduces by seed. This weed grows in both dry and moist environments and is commonly found in fields, waste areas, and wooded habitats. It 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.

Cultural Control

Perennial broadleaf turf weeds are capable of living more than two years. They thrive in weak, thin turf; golf fairways and roughs; home lawns; playfields; and industrial grounds. Proper turf maintenance is the key to control of this weed. First, select adapted turfgrass cultivars for your area and then properly fertilize, mow, and water to encourage dense growth.

Chemical Control

Herbicide and Formulation Amount of Formulation per 1,000 sq ft Amount of Formulation per Acre Pounds Active Ingredient per Acre
Preemergence and Postemergence Control
mesotrione, MOA 27 (4 SC) (Tenacity) 0.092 to 0.183 fl oz 4 to 8 fl oz 0.125 to 0.25
Precaution and Remarks: Use on residential turf, golf courses (not greens) and sod farms for pre- and postemergence weed control. Tolerant turfgrasses include St. Augustinegrass, centipedegrass, tall fescue, fine fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass. Add a nonionic surfactant and repeat application after 2 to 3 weeks for improved postemergence control. Tank mix with prodiamine 65 WG for extended preemergence grassy weed control. Can be applied at seeding to all tolerant grasses except fine fescue. After turf germination, wait 4 weeks or until turf has been mowed twice before making a postemergence application. Also controls henbit, chickweed, dandelion, white clover, Florida betony, Florida pusley, ground ivy, oxalis, wild violet, creeping bentgrass, and yellow nutsedge.​
[sulfentrazone + prodiamine], MOA 14 + 3 (4 SC) (Echelon) 0.184 to 0.826 fl oz 0.5 to 2.25 pt 0.25 to 1.125
Precaution and Remarks: Use on residential turf, golf courses (not greens) and sod farms for pre- and postemergence weed control. Tolerant turfgrasses include St. Augustinegrass, centipedegrass, tall fescue, fine fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass. Add a nonionic surfactant and repeat application after 2 to 3 weeks for improved postemergence control. Tank mix with prodiamine 65 WG for extended preemergence grassy weed control. Can be applied at seeding to all tolerant grasses except fine fescue. After turf germination, wait 4 weeks or until turf has been mowed twice before making a postemergence application. Also controls henbit, chickweed, dandelion, white clover, Florida betony, Florida pusley, ground ivy, oxalis, wild violet, creeping bentgrass, and yellow nutsedge.​

Species Data

  • GROWTH SEASON / LIFE CYCLE
    • winter annual or biennial or perennial weed
  • GROWTH HABIT
  • LEAFLET NUMBER
    • one
  • LEAF MARGIN
    • most of the lower leaves exhibit crinkled leaf margins, while upper leaves tend to have smooth margins
      Figure 2
  • LEAF HAIRS
    • most of the lower leaves are heart-shaped and unlobed, whereas the upper leaves tend to be elongated and occasionally lobed
  • LEAF VENATION
    • pinnate
  • LEAF ARRANGEMENT
  • ROOT TYPE
    • fibrous
  • FLOWER COLOR
Smallflower buttercup  growth habit.Figure 1. Smallflower buttercup growth habit.Smallflower buttercup leaf margin.Figure 2. Smallflower buttercup leaf margin.Smallflower buttercup leaf arrangement.Figure 3. Smallflower buttercup leaf arrangement.Smallflower buttercup leaf arrangement.Figure 4. Smallflower buttercup leaf arrangement.Smallflower buttercup leaf arrangement.Figure 5. Smallflower buttercup leaf arrangement.Smallflower buttercup flower color.Figure 6. Smallflower buttercup flower color.

Written By

Photo of Charles Peacock, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDr. Charles PeacockProfessor and Extension Turfgrass Specialist (919) 515-7615 charles_peacock@ncsu.eduCrop & Soil Sciences - NC State University
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This Extension factsheet can also be viewed at:
https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/smallflower-buttercup