IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This native perennial plant is about 6" tall; it produces basal leaves and stems with alternate leaves that sprawl along the ground. The stems are light green, reddish green, or brownish green, and glabrous to slightly pubescent. The basal and alternate leaves are up to 3" long and across (excluding the petioles). They are trifoliate and hairless. The margins of each leaflet are cleft and dentate. The terminal leaflet has a longer petiolule (a stalk at its base) than either of the lateral leaflets. There is some variability in how broad and deeply cleft the leaflets are. Occasionally, a single flower develops from an unbranched stalk about 4-6" long. This stalk is more or less erect and glabrous to pubescent. The flower spans about ¾–1" across, consisting of 5 yellow petals, 5 light green sepals, numerous yellow stamens, and a cluster of pistils in the center of the flower. The base of each petal is pale greenish yellow with about 5 fine lines functioning as nectar guides; the remainder of the petal is bright yellow and shiny. The well-rounded petals are longer than the sepals. The blooming period occurs from mid-spring to early summer and lasts about 1½ months. After the petals fall away, each pistil develops into a flattened achene with a long beak; this achene is up to 3.5 mm. in length. The root system consists of a tuft of fibrous roots. The stems are somewhat stoloniferous and can root in the ground. Swamp Buttercup reproduces by seeds and vegetatively; it often forms loose colonies of plants at favorable sites.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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