Ranunculus acris (Tall Buttercup)

Plant Info
Also known as: Common Buttercup, Crowfoot
Genus:Ranunculus
Family:Ranunculaceae (Buttercup)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:Europe
Status:
  • Weedy
Habitat:part shade, sun; moist fields, edges of woods, along roads
Bloom season:May - October
Plant height:10 to 40 inches
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flower] Flowers are at the end of stems that arise from the leaf axils. Individual flowers are ½ to 1 inch across with 5 broad shiny yellow petals. There are numerous yellow stamens around the greenish center. One plant has several to many flowers.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are both basal and alternating up the stem, to 4 inches long and 6 inches across, deeply divided into 3 to 5 lobes, each lobe further divided. Basal leaves are long stalked, becoming stalkless, smaller and with narrower lobes as they ascend the stem. Surfaces are softly hairy. Stems are green and variously hairy.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

The center expands to a globe about ¼ inch in diameter, covered in smooth seeds.

Notes:

Not counting varieties, there are about 15 yellow buttercup species present in Minnesota, only 2 or 3 of which are not native, Tall Buttercup being one. It is most easily identified by its deeply lobed leaves. It also has larger flowers and is a taller plant than most native species. A common weed, it is typical to see plants scattered here and there, but given the chance it can create sizable colonies in old fields and agricultural margins. A double-flowered cultivar was once popular in the garden trade.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Aitkin and Douglas counties.

Comments

Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Carol G
on: 2009-06-23 16:48:36

This plant is abundant in Northeastern Minnesota along the Arrowhead Trail.

Posted by: Mark - Oakdale Nature Preserve, Oakdale MN
on: 2010-06-19 17:03:41

Scattered along most of the trails in Oakdale Nature Preserve, May-June 2010.

Posted by: Sonja - McGrath
on: 2010-12-09 10:59:41

its not everywhere but I do remember picking these as a kid from my Grams field, one of the only flowers she was happy we picked, lol. I still see them around but like I said their not everywhere.

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