Ranunculus rhomboideus (Prairie Buttercup)
|Also known as:||Labrador Buttercup|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; dry sandy prairies, open woods|
|Bloom season:||April - May|
|Plant height:||2 to 10 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Single flower at the end of a hairy stalk that arises from a leaf axil. Flowers are 1/3 to ½ inch across, with 5 to 8 (usually 5) yellow petals, 5 yellowish sepals shorter than the petals, and numerous yellow stamens surrounding a bulbous green center. Most plants have from 3 to 12 flowers.
Leaves and stem:
There are also a few basal leaves on slender stalks up to 2 inches long. Basal leaves are up to 1½ inches long, ¾ inch wide, have rounded teeth except near the base, and vary in shape from egg-shaped to oval to rhombic to lobed in 3 parts. Leaves and stems are typically covered with long soft hairs.
Prairie Buttercup may only be 2 or 3 inches tall when it starts flowering, but the stems can eventually elongate to about 10 inches. The flowers aren't very distinctive for a buttercup, but the leaves and (typically) open prairie habitat make this species easy to identify in the field. It is also among the first prairie plants to bloom in the spring.
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- early season Prairie Buttercup
- Prairie Buttercup plant
- mature Prairie Buttercup plant
- a pollinator
- leaf and stem hairs
- garden-grown Prairie Buttercup
Photos by K. Chayka taken at Wild River State Park, Chisago County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken at Helen Allison SNA and in a private garden in Anoka County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?