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Ranunculus (Buttercups) - Georg Dionysius Ehret - Framed Print - 16"H x 12"W


Ranunculus (Buttercups) - Georg Dionysius Ehret - Framed Print - 16"H x 12"W

Georg Dionysius Ehret was a German botanist and entomologist, and is best known for his botanical illustrations. The genus Ehretia was named in his honour.

Beginning his working life as a gardener's apprentice, he became one of the most influential European botanical artists of all time. His first illustrations were in collaboration with Carl Linnaeus and George Clifford. Clifford, a wealthy Dutch banker and governor of the Dutch East India Company was a keen botanist with a large herbarium. Together at the Clifford estate, they produced Hortus Cliffortianus in 1738, a masterpiece of early botanical literature. However as a result of exploitation by Johann Wilhelm Weinmann, Ehret finished only 500 plates of a 1,000 plate commission and moved to England where he illustrated many of the more spectacular plants that were in cultivation.

Ranunculus is a large genus of plants in the Ranunculaceae. Members of the genus include the buttercups, spearworts, and water crowfoots. The petals are often highly lustrous, especially in yellow species.

The name Ranunculus is Latin for "little frog,". This refers to many species being found near water, like frogs.

The name buttercup may derive from a false belief that the plants give butter its characteristic yellow hue (in fact it is poisonous to cows and other livestock). A popular children's game involves holding a buttercup up to the chin; a yellow reflection is supposed to indicate fondness for butter.

In the interior of the Pacific Northwest of the United States the buttercup is called "Coyote’s eyes"  (ʔiceyéeyenm sílu in Nez Perce and spilyaynmí áčaš in Sahaptin). In the legend Coyote was tossing his eyes up in the air and catching them again when Eagle snatched them. Unable to see, Coyote made eyes from the buttercup.

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