Scientific Name: Ranunculus abortivus

Common Name: littleleaf buttercup

Other Common Names: early woodbuttercup, smallflower buttercup, smallflower crowfoot, kidneyleaf crowfoot

Synonyms: Ranunculus abortivus ssp. Acrolasius, Ranunculus abortivus var. acrolasius, Ranunculus abortivus var. eucyclus, Ranunculus abortivus var. indivisus, Ranunculus abortivus var. typicus

Habit: This biennial or short-lived perennial species blooms in the spring through early summer. Grows upright, to about 2ft.

Leaves: Hairless leaves have different shapes at different positions along the stem. Basal leaves are mostly kidney shaped, while upper leaves are often lobed to egg-shaped. Leaves can vary in size but are often approximately 2-3in wide and have toothed, notched, or scalloped margins. Petioles reach 5in.

Identifying Characteristics: This plant can be highly variable in appearance, but is chiefly distinguished from other buttercups by its lack of hair, kidney-shaped lower leaves, and fruit shape.

Flower Seed Head: 5 yellow petals and 5 green bracts cluster around pale green to yellow carpels and a ring of stamens with bright yellow anthers. Flowers range in diameter from about 1/4-1/2in.

Seed Fruit: Rounded or egg-shaped achenes are 1-2mm wide, hairless and typically have a short (.2mm), straight-to-slightly curved beak.

Where Found: Mostly living in low areas such as woods and field in rolling landscapes.

  • Life cycle: biennial

  • Milky sap: Not Present

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Ranunculaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: alternate

  • Leaf shape: oval; spatulate; round

  • Ochrea: Not Present

  • Leaf margin: lobed; wavy; serrated

  • Stem hairs: no hairs

  • Flower color: yellow

  • Growth habit: prostrate and nonwoody

  • Stem: round or oval

  • Leaf structure: simple

  • Leaf hairs: no hairs

  • Flower symmetry: radial symetery

  • Flower diameter: dime; pencil

  • Root structure: fibrous

  • Leaf stalk: longer than leaf