Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Small Yellow Water Butter-cup
Ranunculus gmelinii DC.
- Family: Butter-cup (Ranunculaceae)
- Flowering: May-September
- Field Marks: This yellow-flowered butter-cup usually grows in standing water. The segments of the divided, floating leaves may be as much as 1 inch wide, not thread-like.
- Habitat: Along streams, around ponds, in marshes, in ditches, often in standing water.
- Habit: Perennial herb with slender rhizomes.
- Stems: Submersed stems floating on water, terrestrial stems rooting at the nodes, sparsely branched, up to 1 1/2 feet long, smooth or hairy.
- Leaves: Alternate, those floating on the water surface 3-lobed or once- or twice-divided into leaflets, the leaflets linear to ovate, those submersed much more narrowly divided, up to 1 inch long, up to 1 inch wide, smooth or hairy.
- Flowers: 1-several.
- Sepals: 5, greenish yellow, free from each other, spreading, ovate, up to 1/4 inch long, smooth or hairy.
- Petals: 5, sometimes 6, 7, or 8, yellow, free from each other, obovate to nearly spherical, up to 1/3 inch long.
- Stamens: 20-45.
- Pistils: Many, each with a superior ovary.
- Fruits: Many achenes crowded into an ovoid or spherical head 1/3-1/2 inch across; each achene obovoid, up to 1/16 inch long, with a flat, narrowly triangular beak.
- Notes: The achenes are eaten by waterfowl.
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