The rise of angiosperms has been regarded as a trigger for the Cretaceous revolution of terrestrial ecosystems. However, the timeframe of the rise angiosperm-dominated herbaceous floras (ADHFs) is lacking. Here, we used the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) as a proxy to provide insights into the rise of ADHFs. An integration of phylogenetic, molecular dating, ancestral state inferring, and diversification analytical methods was used to infer the early evolutionary history of Ranunculaceae. We found that Ranunculaceae became differentiated in forests between about 108-90 Ma. Diversification rates markedly elevated during the Campanian, mainly resulted from the rapid divergence of the non-forest lineages, but did not change across the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. Our data for Ranunculaceae indicate that forest-dwelling ADHFs may have appeared almost simultaneously with angiosperm-dominated forests during the mid-Cretaceous, whereas non-forest ADHFs arose later, by the end of the Cretaceous terrestrial revolution. Furthermore, ADHFs were relatively unaffected by the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction.