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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

9. Ranunculaceae, the Buttercup Family

4. Ranunculus L. -- Buttercup, crowfoot

6. Ranunculus hispidus Michx. -- Marsh buttercup


Nearly glabrous to strongly hirsute perennial 2-7 dm tall. Stems erect to ascending, some eventually reflexed and rooting at an upper node, acting as stolons, to 10 dm long, with spreading or somewhat deflexed hairs. Leaves basal and cauline, the basal leaves larger and longer-petioled than the cauline ones; blades simple and 3-lobed on earliest leaves, otherwise ternately compound, broadly ovate-cordate in outline, 3-14 cm long, 4-20 cm wide, the lobes or leaflets themselves 2- or 3-lobed or cleft and irregularly toothed, appressed-hairy mainly on the veins; petioles 3-30 cm long, with pubescence like that of the stems; stipular bases 10-40 mm long. Flowers 1-several per flowering stem, the pedicels appressed-hairy; sepals 5, yellowish-green, spreading, 5-11 mm long, appressed-hairy, deciduous before the petals; petals 5 (rarely to 10), yellow, fading white, 7-16 mm long; stamens mostly 40-70, the anthers more than 1 mm long; receptacle 2-3 mm long in flower, 4-8.5 mm long in fruit, hispidulous. Achenes usually 15-30 or more in an ovoid to globose head 6-12 mm long, 7-12 mm thick; achene body obovate, 2-4.5 mm long, glabrous, narrowly to broadly winged around the margin, the beak straight, 1.5-3 mm long. Late May--early Jul. Wet meadows and woods, springs, boggy areas, swamps, shores and stream banks, where water is fresh; occasional mainly in the e part; (Labr. to s Man. s to FL and TX). R. septentrionalis Poir.

R. hispidus is represented by two varieties in our range. R. hispidus var. caricetorum (Greene) T. Duncan has the achenes narrowly winged with a margin to 0.3 mm wide. This is our most common variety, occurring in e and c ND, e SD and e NE. Less common is R. hispidus var. nitidus (Ell.) T. Duncan, which has the achenes broadly winged with a sharply demarcated margin 0.4-1 mm wide. This variety occurs sparingly in e SD and e NE.

GIF-Ranunculus hispidus
Ranunculus hispidus
GIF- Distribution Map

Map key


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