Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Ranunculus alismifolius Geyer ex Benth.
- Family: Butter-cup (Ranunculaceae)
- Flowering: April-June
- Field Marks: The bright yellow petals are up to 1/2 inch long, about 3 times as long as the sepals. All the leaves are smooth and lanceolate.
- Habitat: Around lakes, along streams, wet meadows, roadside ditches.
- Habit: Perennial herb with several thickened roots.
- Stems: Upright, often branched, usually rather stout, up to 2 1/2 feet tall, smooth, hollow.
- Leaves: Basal leaves and alternate cauline leaves both present, lanceolate, rounded or pointed at the tip, tapering to a long leaf stalk, up to 4 inches long, up to 1 1/2 inches wide, usually without teeth or lobes, smooth.
- Flowers: 1-few at the tips of the branches, up to nearly 1 inch across on smooth stalks up to 4 inches long.
- Sepals: 5, yellow-green, free from each other, about 1/8 inch long, up to 1/3 as long as the petals.
- Petals: 5, bright yellow, free from each other, obovate, 3 times longer than the sepals.
- Stamens: Numerous.
- Pistils: 30-50 in a rather compact cluster, each with a superior ovary, smooth.
- Fruits: Achenes 30-50 in a small spherical head, each achene obovoid, up to 1/8 inch
long, with a short, curved or straight beak.
- Notes: The leaves are reminiscent of those of Alisma graminea. The common name is not particularly appropriate for this species. The achenes are eaten by small birds and small mammals.
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