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This buttercup has achenes with unusually long hooked beaks; this provides its fruit with a slightly spiny appearance. While its foliage is reasonably attractive, the flowers are not very showy. Other similar buttercups include Ranunculus abortivus (Small-Flowered Buttercup) and Ranunculus pensylvanicus (Bristly Buttercup), which can be found in wet woodlands as well. Small-Flowered Buttercup has lower leaves that are kidney-shaped and lack lobes, while the palmately cleft leaves of Bristly Buttercup have more narrow lobes. The latter species also blooms later in the year (during the summer) than Hooked Buttercup. Other similar buttercups have larger flowers (at least ½" across) or their fruits (seedheads) are more elongated (ovoid or oblongoid) in shape.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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