- Herbaceous, from fibrous roots, multiple from base, branching, glabrous, to +50cm tall but typically shorter, erect.
Node of stem.
- Basal leaves petiolate, un-lobed to lobed. Petiole to 15cm long, pubescent adaxially, petiole reduced on lobed basal leaves. Blade of un-lobed leaves reniform, crenate, to 5cm long, 6cm broad, glabrous, ciliate at basal margin. Lobed basal leaves with typically three lobes, the lobes crenate.
Cauline leaves sessile to short petiolate, 3-lobed (occasionally each lobe divided again). Lobes linear to oblanceolate, entire to crenate, glabrous.
- Single terminal flowers on long peduncle. Peduncle to +9cm long, glabrous.
- Petals 5, yellow, lanceolate, 3mm long, 1.5mm broad, glabrous. Stamens +20, from base of pistils. Filaments yellow, -1mm long. Anthers yellow. Pistils many, forming a globose head to +/-5mm long (tall), +/-4mm in diameter. Sepals 5, spreading to reflexed, oval to elliptic, cupped, green with scarious margins, 3-4mm long, 2.2mm broad, glabrous or with a few straight hairs. Achenes glabrous, -2mm long when mature, slightly compressed, with minute beak to .1mm long.
- This is a very common plant in the state and one of the first signs that spring is truly arriving. This species and other woodland species are typically the first plants to bloom in spring. The flowers are very small but easy to spot against the dark woodland floor.The plant can be found in moist areas of the habitats mentioned above.
Photographs taken off Northwood Rd, Platte County, MO., 3-28-00, in Brown Summit, NC., 3-14-03, and off Lee Rd 54, Auburn, AL., 3-3-05.
Robert H. Mohlenbrock. USDA SCS. 1989.
Midwest wetland flora: Field office illustrated guide to plant species
. Midwest National Technical Center, Lincoln. Provided by USDA NRCS Wetland Science Institute (WSI).
Robert H. Mohlenbrock. USDA NRCS. 1992.
Western wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species
. West Region, Sacramento. Provided by USDA NRCS Wetland Science Institute (WSI).
This plant can be weedy or invasive according to the authoritative sources noted below.This plant may be known by one or more common names in different places, and some are listed above. Click on an acronym to view each weed list, or click here for a composite list of
Weeds of the U.S.
Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 551. 1753.
(Fernald) B. M. Kapoor & A. Löve;
Stems erect or nearly erect, 10-60 cm, glabrous, each with 3-50 flowers. Roots filiform, sometimes enlarged basally, 0.5-1.5 mm thick. Basal leaves persistent, blades reniform or orbiculate, undivided or sometimes innermost 3-parted or -foliate, 1.4-4.2 × 2-5.2 cm, base shallowly to deeply cordate, margins crenulate to crenate-lobulate, apex rounded to rounded-obtuse. Flowers: pedicels glabrous or nearly so; receptacle sparsely to very sparsely pilose; sepals 2.5-4 × 1-2 mm, abaxially glabrous; petals 5, 1.5-3.5 × 1-2 mm; nectary scale glabrous. Heads of achenes ovoid, 3-6 × 2.5-5 mm; achenes 1.4-1.6 × 1-1.5 mm, glabrous; beak subulate, curved, 0.1-0.2 mm. 2 n = 16.
Three varieties of Ranunculus abortivus are sometimes recognized. Plants from New England and the northern Appalachians often have thick stems and orbiculate leaves with narrow, deep basal sinuses; this form has been called R . abortivus var. eucyclus . Plants from southeastern Virginia may have the upper bracts merely lobed rather than deeply divided as is usual in R . sect. Epirotes ; those have been called R . arbortivus var. indivisus .
Native American tribes have used Ranunculus abortivus medicinally for a variety of purposes (D. E. Moerman 1986).
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