prairie buttercup

(Ranunculus rhomboideus)

Conservation Status
prairie buttercup
 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Prairie buttercup is a early-flowering, low-growing, prairie wildflower. It is one of the first prairie wildflowers to bloom in the spring. It occurs in the United States in the Upper Midwest from Michigan to North and South Dakota, with scattered occurrences in the west, and in southern Canada from Ontario to Alberta, with a few occurrences in British Columbia. It is common in Minnesota. It is found mostly in prairies, occasionally in open woods or thickets. It grows in sandy soil under full or partial sun.

Prairie buttercup is a 2 to 8 (5 to 22 cm.) tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on multiple stems from slender roots. The stems are erect and are covered with long spreading hairs.

Basal leaves are undivided, egg-shaped oblong or broadly egg-shaped, to 2 (1 to 5 cm) long, and to 1716 (0.9 to 3.6 cm) wide. They are on long stalks. The blades are broadly angled at the base and rounded at the tip. The upper and lower surfaces are covered with long soft hairs. The margins have 5 rounded teeth on each side but are untoothed near the base. Rarely the innermost basal leaves are 3-parted.

Stem leaves are alternate and stalkless. They are deeply divided into a 3 to 5 one-inch long segments that are long, narrow, and straight sided (linear).

The inflorescence is single flowers rising from a few to several upper leaf axils. Each flower is on a stalk (pedicel) that is covered with long, spreading hairs.

The flowers are to wide. There are usually 5 outer floral leaves (sepals), 5 petals, and always numerous stamens. The sepals are light green, to ¼ (4 to 6 mm) long, and 116 to (1.5 to 3 mm) wide. The outer (lower) sepal surface is covered with long, spreading, colorless hairs. The petals are yellow, shiny, oblong to elliptical, ¼ to 516 (6 to 8 mm) long, and 116 to (2 to 4 mm) wide. They are much longer than the sepals. Sometimes there are up to 8 petals. The stamens have yellow stalks (filaments) and yellow anthers. At the center of the flower there is a dense cluster of green pistils. Each pistil has a single tiny style.

The fruit is a dry seed capsule (achene) replacing each pistil. As the achenes begin to develop, the petals and sepals fall to the ground, leaving a depressed globe-shaped, to ¼ (4 to 6 mm) long, 3 16 to ¼ (5 to 7 mm) in diameter seed head. Each achene is shaped like a thickened lentil, 116 (1.8 to 2.2 mm) long and 132 to 116 (1.2 to 1.8 mm) wide, with a slender, curved extension (beak) at the end.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

2 to 8 (5 to 22 cm.)

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Yellow

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Dry. Open woods and prairies. Full to partial sun. Sandy soil.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

April to May

 
     
 

Pests and Diseases

 
 

 

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 24, 28, 29, 30.

 
  5/28/2022      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Ranunculanae  
 

Order

Ranunculales (buttercups, poppies, and allies)  
 

Family

Ranunculaceae (buttercups)  
  Subfamily Ranunculoideae (anemones, buttercups, larkspurs and allies)  
  Tribe Ranunculeae  
 

Genus

Ranunculus (buttercups)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

 

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Ranunculus ovalis

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

Labrador buttercup

prairie buttercup

prairie crowfoot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Achene

A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed entirely from the wall of the superior ovary, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.

 

Axil

The upper angle where a branch, stem, leaf stalk, or vein diverges.

 

Beak

On plants: A comparatively short and stout, narrow or prolonged tip on a thickened organ, as on some fruits and seeds. On insects: The protruding, tubular mouthpart of a sucking insect.

 

Elliptic

Narrowly oval, broadest at the middle, narrower at both ends, with the ends being equal.

 

Filament

On plants: The thread-like stalk of a stamen which supports the anther. On Lepidoptera: One of a pair of long, thin, fleshy extensions extending from the thorax, and sometimes also from the abdomen, of a caterpillar.

 

Linear

Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.

 

Oblong

Two to four times longer than wide with nearly parallel sides.

 

Pedicel

On plants: the stalk of a single flower in a cluster of flowers. On insects: the second segment of the antenna. On Hymenoptera and Araneae: the narrow stalk connecting the thorax to the abdomen: the preferred term is petiole.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

 
 
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Nancy Falkum

 
    prairie buttercup      
           
 
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Plant

 
    prairie buttercup      
           
 

Inflorescence

 
    prairie buttercup      
           
 

Basal leaves

 
    prairie buttercup      

 

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  Nancy Falkum
5/27/2022

Location: Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA, Weaver Dunes Unit

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Created: 5/25/2020

Last Updated:

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