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Ranunculus abortivus L.

Kidney-leaved buttercup, kidney-leaved crowfoot, little-leaf buttercup, kidney-leaved cr

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassMagnoliidaeIncludes magnolias, nutmeg, bay laurel, cinnamon, avocado, black pepper, and many others
OrderRanunculalesBasal (evolved earlier) eudicots, also called “true dicots”
FamilyRanunculaceaeButtercup family
GenusRanunculusFrom Latin rana, “little frog,” because many species grow in moist places
SpeciesabortivusFrom Latin abortiva: with parts missing, imperfect; producing abortion

About plant names...

This species prefers partial shade, and reasonably fertile soil. It is native to most of North America. It is found in woods, meadows, fields, and clearings.

Plants: 6-24" (15-60 cm) in height, with erect, hairless stems.

Leaves: Lower leaves are ½-4" (1.3-10 cm), and reniform (kidney-shaped), round, or heart-shaped with crenate edges. Upper leaves are alternate, hairless, lanceolate, oblanceolate, or oblong, with smooth edges, deeply and multiply-divided, up to 1½" (3.8 cm) long and sessile.

Flowers: Rather underwhelming-looking yellow flowers appear in groups of 1-3, on bare individual stalks at stem tips. Each flower is ¼" (6.3 mm) around. If you look closely at the flower, there are five yellow petals in the shape of a star, five green sepals, a cluster of green carpels, and a ring of stamens with bright yellow anthers. Speaking rather less technically, the flowers are small, boring, and easily missed. They appear Apr-Jul.

Fruits: Insignificant, ¹/₃₂-¹/₁₆" (1.4-1.6 mm) in size, ripening to shiny brown.

 

Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved buttercup, kidney-leaved crowfoot, little-leaf buttercup, kidney-leaved cr)

4/4/2012 · North Central Railroad Trail, End, Phoenix, Mary­land
≈ 6 × 5" (16 × 13 cm)

Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved buttercup, kidney-leaved crowfoot, little-leaf buttercup, kidney-leaved cr)

5/11/2016 · Pearl Hill State Park, Ashby, Mass­a­chu­setts

Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved buttercup, kidney-leaved crowfoot, little-leaf buttercup, kidney-leaved cr)

5/11/2016 · Pearl Hill State Park, Ashby, Mass­a­chu­setts

Here are some similar-looking species:

  You are here
Ranunculus abortivus

Ranunculus recurvatus
Common Name

kidney-leaved buttercup

hooked crowfoot
Plant Up to 24" (60 cm) in height. 6-24" (15-60 cm) in height, with erect, hairy, branched stems.
Flowers Yellow star-shaped flowers in groups of 1-3, on individual stalks at stem tips. Each flower is ¼" (6.3 mm) around. Appear Apr-Jul. Haphazard-looking clusters of 2-16 yellow flowers, on bare individual stalks at stem tips. Each flower is about ¼" (7.6 mm) around. Flowers appear May-Jun.
Leaves Lower leaves are ½-4" (1.3-10 cm), and reniform (kidney-shaped), round, or heart-shaped with crenate edges. Upper leaves are alternate, hairless, lanceolate, oblanceolate, or oblong, with smooth edges, deeply and multiply-divided, up to 1½" (3.8 cm) long and sessile. Lower leaves are ½-4" (1.3-10 cm), alternate, lobed and deeply divided into 3 or 5 parts. Upper leaves are similar, becoming smaller and thinner. Leaves are medium to dark green and hairless, and leaf tips are coarsely toothed or crenate.
Fruit Fruits are insignificant, ¹/₃₂-¹/₁₆" (1.4-1.6 mm) in size, ripening to shiny brown. Each flower expands into a rounded seed head ~¹/₁₆" (1.6-2.2 mm) around, a dense cluster of seeds, each with a tiny velco-like hook, hence the name crowfoot. The seeds blacken as they mature.
Range/ Zones

Habitats Woods, meadows, fields, and clearings. Woods, edges of swamps, or floodplains.
Type Wild Wild

 

Online References:

Ranunculus abortivus on illinoiswildflowers.info

Ranunculus abortivus on

Ranunculus abortivus at Minnesota Wildflowers

Ranunculus abortivus at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

References:

Clemants, Steven; Gracie, Carol, Wildflowers in the Field and Forest, Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 216

Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved buttercup, kidney-leaved crowfoot, little-leaf buttercup, kidney-leaved cr)

5/11/2016 · Pearl Hill State Park, Ashby, Mass­a­chu­setts

Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved buttercup, kidney-leaved crowfoot, little-leaf buttercup, kidney-leaved cr)

6/21/2017 · Pearl Hill State Park, Townsend, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.8 cm)

Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved buttercup, kidney-leaved crowfoot, little-leaf buttercup, kidney-leaved cr)

6/21/2017 · Pearl Hill State Park, Townsend, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 8 × 5" (20 × 13 cm)

Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved buttercup, kidney-leaved crowfoot, little-leaf buttercup, kidney-leaved cr)

5/11/2016 · Pearl Hill State Park, Ashby, Mass­a­chu­setts

Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved buttercup, kidney-leaved crowfoot, little-leaf buttercup, kidney-leaved cr)

4/4/2012 · North Central Railroad Trail, End, Phoenix, Mary­land
≈ 6 × 5" (15 × 13 cm)

Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved buttercup, kidney-leaved crowfoot, little-leaf buttercup, kidney-leaved cr)

4/7/2012 · Ladew Topiary Gardens, Monkton, Mary­land
≈ 8 × 6" (20 × 14 cm)

Ranunculus abortivus L. ssp. acrolasius (Fernald) Kapoor & A. Löve & D. Löve

Ranunculus abortivus L. var. acrolasius Fernald

Ranunculus abortivus L. var. eucyclus Fernald

Ranunculus abortivus L. var. indivisus Fernald

Ranunculus abortivus L. var. typicus Fernald

Ranunculus abortivus L. ssp. acrolasius (Fernald) Kapoor & A. Löve & D. Löve

Ranunculus abortivus L. ssp. acrolasius (Fernald) Kapoor & Á. Löve & D. Löve

 

Ranunculus abortivus description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved buttercup, kidney-leaved crowfoot, little-leaf buttercup, kidney-leaved cr)

5/9/2016 · Wonder Brook Park, Kennebunk Land Trust, Kennebunk, Maine

Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved buttercup, kidney-leaved crowfoot, little-leaf buttercup, kidney-leaved cr)

4/7/2012 · Ladew Topiary Gardens, Monkton, Mary­land
≈ 8 × 7" (19 × 17 cm)

Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved buttercup, kidney-leaved crowfoot, little-leaf buttercup, kidney-leaved cr)

5/9/2016 · Wonder Brook Park, Kennebunk Land Trust, Kennebunk, Maine

Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved buttercup, kidney-leaved crowfoot, little-leaf buttercup, kidney-leaved cr)

5/4/2017 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 7 × 9" (16 × 22 cm)

Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved buttercup, kidney-leaved crowfoot, little-leaf buttercup, kidney-leaved cr)

5/9/2016 · Wonder Brook Park, Kennebunk Land Trust, Kennebunk, Maine

Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved buttercup, kidney-leaved crowfoot, little-leaf buttercup, kidney-leaved cr)

5/11/2016 · Pearl Hill State Park, Ashby, Mass­a­chu­setts

Range:

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