The most magical flowers in the world.
  • Tamara Kulikova/Shutterstock
  • The most magical flowers in the world.

Yesterday I was so cold, and it was so dark and raining, that when somebody I love handed me a yellow ranunculus plant, it felt almost like a flame.

Thank you, C.

Do you know this flower, otherwise known as the Persian buttercup? When I first saw it several years ago, the first thought that came to my mind, honestly, was This flower is fictional. It cannot be real.

It's my starstruck belief (I'm no botanist) that the ranunculus has the greatest number of petals per blossom of any flower in this universe. Looking at one is mathematically mind-boggling.

Squeeze a blossom in your hand and it feels like dough. It's that filthy with petals. Each petal, meanwhile, is thinner than tissue paper and see-through at the edges.

Ranunculus season in Seattle grocery stores and florist shops lasts only a few weeks. This year it feels early. But there is nothing more romantic than these things. If you removed every petal from a single bouquet and left them in a trail, I bet they would carry you all the way up one of these freezing mountains. Happy early Valentine's Day.

Soon they will be gone again.