The elegant ranunculus derives its name from the Latin word rana, meaning "frog"--hardly the picture these dainty blooms typically bring to mind. The name refers not to the flowers' appearance, but to the moist environments in which they typically grow. Commonly called buttercup or crowfoot, ranunculuses are members of the Ranunculaceae family, and are related to peonies, acontiums, aquilegias and anemones.
Florists typically use the double-flowered ranunculus form, with its profusion of thin, closely spaced petals. These flower have gently bending stems covered with soft, fuzzy hair and sparse foliage support.