Ranunculus recurvatus (Hooked Buttercup)

Plant Info
Also known as: Blisterwort, Hooked Crowfoot
Family:Ranunculaceae (Buttercup)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade; average to moist woods, along streams, edges of swamps, floodplains
Bloom season:May - June
Plant height:1 to 2 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals

[photo of flowers] Flowers are at the end of stalks that arise from the upper leaf axils. Flowers are ¼ to ½ inch across, 5 narrowly triangular to oblong, pale yellow petals and about 20 yellow-tipped stamens surrounding a bright green center. The 5 yellowish-green sepals are about as long as the petals, or a little longer, and typically bend back away from the flower (reflexed).

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

[photo of leaves] Leaves are basal and alternate, up to 4 inches long and 3 inches wide, lobed or deeply divided into 3 or 5 parts, with long leaf stalks that become shorter as leaves ascend the stem. The lobes are coarsely toothed toward the tip end and may be further divided with more shallow lobes. Stems and leaf stalks are both hairy, and the leaves may also have scattered hairs on the surfaces, and fine hairs along the edges. Stems are erect, branched, and do not root at the nodes.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

[photo of fruit] The flower center expands into a round seed head about ¼ inch in diameter. Seeds are smooth with a hook at the tip of the beak, which is where the common name originates.


The flowers of Hooked Buttercup are unique enough to distinguish it from other Ranunculus species with small yellow flowers. There are two varieties but one is limited to tropical climates, leaving var. recurvatus inhabiting Minnesota and much of the eastern half of North America

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Wild River State Park, Chisago County, and in Ramsey County.


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

Posted by: Steve - Eagan, Mn
on: 2011-05-24 17:34:12

Found this plant growing in my wooded back yard in Eagan, Mn. It is slightly common. Have been waiting for 3 weeks for it to bloom so I could identify it. Nice foliage which will provide added green in the summer months as I remove the buckthorn and boxelder shoots.

Posted by: Elizabeth beck - Minnetonka
on: 2018-06-24 21:22:36

Just one plant near the house.

Posted by: JON NICHOLSON - New Hartford Township, Winona County
on: 2021-10-21 15:08:02

Growing in a shady shallow ditch beside our driveway. The lobes on mine are much shallower than shown in the photos on this page.

Posted by: Robin Mattison - St.Paul
on: 2023-04-29 10:41:24

Why is it called blisterwort?

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2023-04-29 10:45:20

Robin, rumor has it the sap, which contains toxins, may cause lesions and blisters.

Posted by: Gabrielle Johnson
on: 2023-05-02 14:36:43

Is this plant the source of the annoying burrs that get in my dog's fur in the late summer and fall?

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2023-05-02 14:45:03

Gabrielle, there are many plants that produce barbed fruits, but this one isn't particularly troublesome. As far as woodland species go, stickseed and enchanter's nightshade are worse offenders.

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