Ranunculus are small, cup-shaped flowers similar in shape and texture to peonies and camellias.

These flowers consist of several multilayers of tissuelike petals. Each stem bears several blooms atop fine, fernlike foliage. Ranunculus come in single or double flowering types. Two-toned or variegated types are called picotee ranunculus.

NAMES: Ranunculus, French or Persian Buttercup.

VARIETIES: Ranunculus asiaticus hybrids in single and double forms. The best variety for cut flowers is the tecolate strain, producing the finest and largest flowers.

COLORS: Available in most shades and colors, except no blue or black. They can have black or Yellow centers. Some varieties are two-tone or striped.

SCENT: Mild scent.

FRESHNESS: Purchase or cut when the petals are cupping the middle of the flower and still fold inward.

VASE LIFE: 7 to 10 days or longer.

AVAILABILITY: Winter through spring, the predominant season being spring.

COST: Spring—moderately priced. Winter—moderately expensive.

MEANING: You are radiant!

OTHER: Ranunculus are heavy drinkers, so watch the water level.