This is Swamp (or Marsh) Buttercup. It blooms April through July across much of Canada, then South to Florida, West to Texas and then North to North Dakota. It prefers moist woods, thickets and meadows. Native to North America, some attentive botanists have divided it into twenty to thirty species. Oh that we could be as welcoming of human variety! It's Latin name is Ranunculus septentrionalis.
In flower symbology it's said Swamp Buttercup offers a cure for madness when it blooms under certain astrological conditions. Madness is defined as: mentally disturbed or deranged; insane; demented. Extremely foolish or unwise; imprudent; irrational. Overcome by desire. Synonyms for mad: lunatic, maniacal, crazed, crazy, batty, senseless.
How wonderful would that be, were God, in great imagination, to have left us a humble botanical cure for our troubled minds. But seeing the little plant here might remind us to recognize and attend to our own need for inner transformation. We might say there is something at least a little mad about all of us in our irrationality, imbalance, extremes, ignorance, wrong-headedness.
The madness of our fevered fantasies,
our domestic violence,
the madness of our politics,
our bitter prejudices and
our mad defense of wars and weapons,
the terrorist turns of religion,
the horrors we inflict on children,
the nation's mad appetite for drugs,
our frenzied shopping and non-stop eating,
our inventive cruelties no creature escapes:
Imagining God of Swamp Buttercup,
heal us in our madness.