Ranunculus abortivus L.

Ranunculus abortivus plant

Family - Ranunculaceae

Stems - Herbaceous, from fibrous roots, multiple from base, branching, glabrous, to +50cm tall but typically shorter, erect.

Ranunculus abortivus stemNode of stem.

Leaves - 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.

Ranunculus abortivus basalsBasal rosette.

Ranunculus abortivus basalsBasal leaves.

Ranunculus abortivus leavesCauline leaves.

Inflorescence - Single terminal flowers on long peduncle. Peduncle to +9cm long, glabrous.

Flowers - 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.

Ranunculus abortivus flowerFlower close-up.

Ranunculus abortivus calyxCalyx close-up.

Ranunculus abortivus fruitsFruits close-up.

Flowering - March - June.

Habitat - Slopes, streambanks, woods, ravines, ditches, waste ground, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - 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.