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Ranunculus ficaria ssp chrysocephalus 'Major'



A large plant with a complicated history to its name. It can be a bit invasive if it gets the chance. In the 1980's someone inadvertantly threw out all my stock - they had been asked to throw out anything that was dead from my propagation house, so naturally all the spring bulbs went out because they were dormant - and since then it has popped up all over the place. Oh the wonder of recycling old compost!

Plants were originally introduced from Italy and distributed by Ingwersens Nursery as 'Major'. E.A.Bowles mentions it in 'My Garden in Spring' published in 1914, so it clearly has a long history. Later research has shown it to be Ranunculus ficaria ssp chrysocephalus, and this is the name that is now most commonly used. I choose to maintain the cultivar name 'Major' for two reasons:
1)As far as I can tell, stock distributed by Ingwersens was a single clone. My plant came from them in 1982.
2)A number of other variants of ssp chrysocephalus are being introduced, the best I have seen recently being 'Pencarn' introduced by Trevor Wiltshire. Others will no doubt follow, so it is as well to be able to distinguish this venerable clone.

It seems better to maintain the cultivar name 'Major' for this green leaved form with green petal reverses since it is so widely distributed in cultivation.