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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

9. Ranunculaceae, the Buttercup Family

4. Ranunculus L. -- Buttercup, crowfoot

1. Ranunculus cardiophyllus Hook.


Erect, pilose to glabrate perennial with fibrous roots, 1.5-4 dm tall; stem single, simple or branched above, 1- to several-flowered. Leaves basal and cauline, the basal leaves with petioles 2-12 cm long, the previous year's petioles often persistent at the base of the stem; blades of the basal leaves simple, reniform to mostly ovate-cordate, 2-6 cm long, about as wide, crenate, one or two sometimes shallowly to deeply cleft; cauline leaves few, subsessile to sessile, deeply parted into several linear lobes. Sepals 5, yellowish, often tinged with purple, spreading, 6-10 mm long, pilose dorsally, petaloid on the margins; petals 5 or sometimes a few more, yellow, 8-15 mm long; stamens 35-80; receptacle oblong-ovoid, 4-14 mm long in fruit, hairy. Achenes 20-100 in an oblong-cylindric head 8-15 mm long, 7-9 mm thick; achene body obovate, turgid with an inconspicuous margin, 1.5-2.5 mm long, puberulent; beak straight or recurved at the tip, 0.5-1 mm long. Jun--Jul. Seepage areas and in alpine meadows; uncommon in the Black Hills and with one record from McKenzie Co., ND; (Sask. to N.W. Terr. and B.C., s to SD, NM, AZ and WA).

This plant is vegetatively similar to the early wood buttercup, Ranunculus abortivus L., which is common in moist woods throughout the region, but the flowers of R. cardiophyllus are much larger and showier.

GIF- Distribution Map

Map key


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Return to Family -- Ranunculaceae - The Buttercup Family
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