Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This native plant is a biennial or short-lived perennial up to 2' tall that branches occasionally. The green stems are glabrous. The blades of the basal leaves are up to 2" long and 2½" across; they are orbicular-reniform and crenate along the margins. Their petioles are up to 3" long. The lower cauline leaves are up to 2" long and across on petioles up to 1" long; they are often deeply divided into 3 rounded lobes and their margins are crenate. The upper cauline leaves are usually lanceolate, oblanceolate, or oblong with smooth margins; sometimes they are shallowly lobed with teeth that are crenate or dentate. The blades of the upper cauline leaves are up to 1½" long and they are sessile. All of these leaves are hairless; the cauline leaves alternate along the stems. Each upper stem terminates in 1-3 flowers on individual stalks. Each flower is about ¼" across, consisting of 5 yellow petals, 5 green sepals, a cluster of green carpels, and a ring of stamens with bright yellow anthers. The petals are broadly lanceolate or triangular; they are smaller than the sepals. The sepals become membranous with age and they fall off the flower at about the same time as the petals. The blooming period occurs from mid-spring to early summer and lasts about 1-2 months. The cluster of carpels (immature achenes) elongates to about ¼" in length and becomes ovoid in shape. The small achenes are somewhat flattened and orbicular in shape; their surfaces are shiny when mature and they have very small beaks. The root system consists of a tuft of fibrous roots. This plant spreads by reseeding itself.
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Comments

Small-Flowered Buttercup is one of the most common Ranunculus spp. in Illinois. The flowers aren't very showy and this plant is easily overlooked. There are many Ranunculus spp. in the state and they are often hard to tell apart. While attempting to identify Small-Flowered Buttercup, look for lower leaves that are orbicular, kidney-shaped, or deeply 3-lobed with crenate margins, and slender upper leaves with mostly smooth margins. The foliage is usually hairless, although there is an uncommon form of this plant that is finely pubescent. Small-Flowered Buttercup is very similar in appearance to Ranunculus micranthus (also called Small-Flowered Buttercup); the latter species is restricted to the southern half of Illinois. To distinguish Ranunculus abortivus from Ranunculus micranthus, it is often necessary to examine the naked receptacles of these two species (the receptacle of the flower is what remains after the carpels, sepals, and petals are removed). The receptacle of Ranunculus abortivus is pubescent, while the receptacle of Ranunculus micranthus is hairless. Another difference is the following
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Range and Habitat in Illinois

Small-Flowered Buttercup is a common plant that has been observed in nearly all counties of Illinois (see Distribution Map); it probably occurs in the remaining counties as well. Habitats include open woodlands, woodland borders, areas along woodland paths, degraded meadows, banks of rivers and ditches, pastures and abandoned fields, edges of yards, vacant lots, grassy areas along railroads and roads, and waste areas. This plant is typically found in disturbed areas and is somewhat weedy.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Ranunculus abortivus fo. abortivus :
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Ranunculus abortivus var. eucyclus Fernald:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Ranunculus abortivus var. indivisus Fernald:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Ranunculus abortivus var. abortivus :
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Ranunculus abortivus var. acrolasius Fernald:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Ranunculus abortivus subsp. acrolasius (Fernald) Kapoor & Love:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Ranunculus abortivus L.:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)
Guatemala (Mesoamerica)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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St. Pierre and Miquelon; Alta., B.C., Man., N.B., Nfld., N.W.T., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que., Sask., Yukon; Ala., Alaska, Ark., Colo., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Idaho, Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., Nebr., N.H., N.J., N.Mex., N.Y., N.C., N.Dak., Ohio, Okla., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.Dak., Tenn., Tex., Vt., Va., Wash., W.Va., Wis., Wyo.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

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.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Ranunculus abortivus subsp. acrolasius (Fernald) B. M. Kapoor & A. Löve; R. abortivus var. acrolasius Fernald; R. abortivus var. eucyclus Fernald; R. abortivus var. indivisus Fernald
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Type Information

Isotype for Ranunculus abortivus var. indivisus Fernald
Catalog Number: US 1735721
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): M. L. Fernald & B. H. Long
Year Collected: 1938
Locality: Three Creek, Drewryville., Southampton, Virginia, United States, North America
  • Isotype: Fernald, M. L. 1938. Rhodora. 40: 418.
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Small-Flowered Buttercup is a common plant that has been observed in nearly all counties of Illinois (see Distribution Map); it probably occurs in the remaining counties as well. Habitats include open woodlands, woodland borders, areas along woodland paths, degraded meadows, banks of rivers and ditches, pastures and abandoned fields, edges of yards, vacant lots, grassy areas along railroads and roads, and waste areas. This plant is typically found in disturbed areas and is somewhat weedy.
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Woods, meadows, fallow fields, and clearings; 0-3100m.
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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Small-Flowered Buttercup in Illinois

Ranunculus abortivus (Small-Flowered Buttercup)
(Beetles feed on pollen or suck nectar, other insects suck nectar primarily; two observations are from Krombein et al. as indicated below, otherwise they are Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus pensylvanica sn; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina dupla dupla sn; Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada ovatus sn

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Augochlorella aurata sn, Augochlorella striata sn, Halictus confusus sn, Lasioglossum cressonii sn, Lasioglossum imitatus sn cp fq, Lasioglossum pectoralis sn, Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus sn, Lasioglossum versatus sn, Lasioglossum zephyrus sn; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena forbesii (Kr), Andrena hippotes (Kr), Andrena personata sn fq

Flies
Syrphidae: Cheilosia hoodiana sn, Paragus bicolor sn fq, Sphaerophoria contiqua sn fq, Toxomerus marginatus sn fq, Trichopsomyia apisaon sn; Tachinidae: Periscepsia laevigata sn, Siphona geniculata sn fq; Sarcophagidae: Helicobia rapax sn

Beetles
Coccinellidae: Coccinella novemnotata sn, Coleomegilla maculata fp

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Faunal Associations

Ladybird beetles, small bees, Syrphid flies, and other kinds of flies suck nectar from the flowers. Some flies and ladybird beetles feed on the pollen, while some bees collect pollen for their larvae. Ants suck nectar that adheres to the carpels after the petals and sepals fall of the flowers. The Wood Duck and Wild Turkey eat the foliage and seeds of Ranunculus spp. (Buttercups). Some small rodents, including the Eastern Chipmunk and Meadow Vole, eat the seeds, while the Cottontail Rabbit eats the foliage. However, the use of the foliage and seeds as a food source by these animals is rather limited. The foliage contains a blistering agent and is mildly toxic to livestock. Photographic Location
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering late winter-summer (Mar-Jul).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ranunculus abortivus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 14
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

This plant is typically found in partial sunlight, moist to mesic conditions, and a reasonably fertile loam or clay-loam soil. It has few problems with pests and disease.
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Wikipedia

Ranunculus abortivus

Ranunculus abortivus is a species of flowering plant in the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae. Its common names include littleleaf buttercup, small-flower crowfoot,[1] small-flowered buttercup,[2] and kidneyleaf buttercup.[3] It is native to North America, with a distribution that covers much of the northern, eastern and central part of the continent.[4]

This species produces erect, hairless stems 10 to 60 centimeters tall. Each stem can bear up to 50 flowers. The flower has five petals up to 3.5 millimeters long.[5]

The plant had a variety of uses among Native American groups. The Cherokee cooked and ate the leaves. They used it medicinally for abscesses and sore throat and as a sedative. The Iroquois used it for snakebite and poisoning, smallpox, and toothache.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ranunculus abortivus. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).
  2. ^ Ranunculus abortivus. Tropicos.org. Missouri Botanical Garden.
  3. ^ Ranunculus abortivus. NatureServe. 2012.
  4. ^ Ranunculus abortivus. USDA PLANTS.
  5. ^ Ranunculus abortivus. Flora of North America.
  6. ^ Ranunculus abortivus. Native American Ethnobotany. University of Michigan, Dearborn.


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Notes

Comments

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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