Ranunculaceae-buttercup2017-08-15T11:56:28+00:00

Ranunculaceae: Buttercup Family — Ranunculus (Buttercup)

Common / California Buttercup – Ranunculus californicus var. californicus

Blooms:

Feb–May

Plant Height:

18–70 cm

Flower Size:

Medium

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Grassland & open woodland

Notes:

A common plant, sometimes found in profusion. The stem is erect to decumbent, glabrous or spreading-hairy. There are 5 sepals and generally 9–17 slender, shiny petals. Leaves are variable, generally 3-lobed or ternate with lobes deeply dissected or compound. Fruits are disk-like with smooth faces and small, curved, lanceolate beaks.

Downy Buttercup – Ranunculus hebecarpus

Blooms:

Mar–May

Plant Height:

8–25 cm

Flower Size:

Very small

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Grassland & open woodland

Notes:

A small, inconspicuous plant, difficult to spot until one has learnt how to recognize it. The flowers are tiny, yellowish with 3–5 petals, barely visible among the more prominent (but still tiny) 3 mm-wide disk-like fruits, papillate on their face and with a hooked beak. Basal leaves are in 3s, each leaflet itself being lobed. The cauline leaves are entire and slender.

Prickle-fruited Buttercup – Ranunculus muricatus

Blooms:

Apr–June

Plant Height:

15–75 cm

Flower Size:

Medium

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Damp or heavily shaded areas

Notes:

Relatively uncommon, this is easily distinguished from Common Buttercup (Ranunculus californicus) by having 5 clearly separated petals and often rounded, deeply-lobed yellowish-green leaves. Fruits are disk like with a long curved beak and small spines on each face which give the plant its common name.

Whitewater Crowfoot – Ranunculus aquatilis var. diffusus

Blooms:

Mar–Sept

Plant Height:

20–80 cm

Flower Size:

Small

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Marshes, ponds and slow streams

Notes:

This aquatic plant has small 5-petaled white flowers. It has floating and submersed leaves, both 3–6-dissected into threadlike segments. Unlike subsp. aquatilis and Lobb’s Aquatic Buttercup (Ranunculus lobbii), it never has floating leaves that are not finely dissected and thread-like.

Lobb’s Aquatic Buttercup – Ranunculus lobbii

Blooms:

Mar–May

Plant Height:

20–80 cm

Flower Size:

Small

Origin:

Native

Rare or endangered?

Yes – 4.2

Habitat:

Vernal pools and shallow ponds

Notes:

Rare, this aquatic plant has small 5-petaled white flowers and both floating and submersed leaves. The floating leaves are deeply 3-parted and occasionally notched. The submersed leaves are generally 2–3-dissected into threadlike segments. Distinguished from the more common Whitewater Crowfoot (Ranunculus aquatilis – not pictured) by having a glabrous rather than bristly receptacle.