Western buttercup virtually glows in otherwise drizzly grey spring landscapes, adding constellations of bright yellow in grassy green prairies, meadows, and lawns. With a long bloom time (from early spring through early summer), they overlap and contrast beautifully with the flowers of sea blush and camas (both of which this plant commonly occurs with in the wild). With low basal leaves, the foliage remains discrete in meadows, allowing the brilliant flowers to really standout above a grassy canopy.
In natural areas, Western buttercup occurs in open damp meadows and partially shaded forest understories. It needs at least partial sun to thrive, but adapts excellently to any moist area: rain gardens, vernal pools, damp meadows, bioswales, and rainwater detention basins.
While the foliage and flowers are toxic, native people reportedly used the non-toxic seeds to make pinole, a mix of seeds and spices -- considered to be a paleo "superfood," added to drinks, or tortillas.