Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Ranunculus sceleratus var. sceleratus

Higher Taxonomy
Family: RanunculaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, woody vine [shrub], occasionally aquatic. Leaf: generally basal and cauline, alternate or opposite, simple or compound; petioles at base generally flat, occasionally sheathing or stipule-like. Inflorescence: cyme, raceme, panicle, or flowers 1. Flower: generally bisexual, generally radial; sepals 3--6(20), free, early-deciduous or withering in fruit, generally green; petals 0--many, generally free; stamens generally 5--many, staminodes generally 0; pistils 1--many, ovary superior, chamber 1, style 0--1, generally +- persistent as beak, ovules 1--many. Fruit: achene, follicle, berry, +- utricle in Trautvetteria, in aggregate or not, 1--many-seeded.
Genera In Family: +- 60 genera, 1700 species: worldwide, especially northern temperate, tropical mountains; many ornamental (Adonis, Aquilegia, Clematis, Consolida, Delphinium, Helleborus, Nigella). Toxicity: some highly TOXIC (Aconitum, Actaea, Delphinium, Ranunculus). Note: Taxa of Isopyrum in TJM (1993) moved to Enemion; Kumlienia moved to Ranunculus.
eFlora Treatment Author: Margriet Wetherwax & Dieter H. Wilken, family description, key to genera
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: RanunculusView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: BUTTERCUP
Habit: Annual to perennial herb, occasionally from stolons or caudices, terrestrial or aquatic; roots generally fibrous. Stem: prostrate to erect. Leaf: basal, cauline, or both, alternate, generally reduced upward; petiole base flat, stipule-like or not; basal, proximal cauline petioles generally long; blades simple to dissected or compound, entire to toothed. Inflorescence: cyme, axillary or terminal, 1--few-flowered. Flower: sepals 3--5(6), generally early-deciduous, generally green to yellow or purple; petals 0--17[(150)], shiny, generally yellow, occasionally white or purple, nectaries near base, pocket-like or with flap-like scale; anthers yellow; pistils generally many. Fruit: achene, compressed or not, +- spheric, disk-like (width 3--15 × depth), or lenticular (width 1--2 × depth), beaked.
Species In Genus: +- 300 species: worldwide except lowland tropics; some ornamental. Etymology: (Latin: diminutive of Rana, frog, from wet habitats)
eFlora Treatment Author: Alan T. Whittemore
Species: Ranunculus sceleratusView Description 

Habit: Annual, emergent aquatic, occasionally on mud, 15--50 cm, erect, glabrous, generally not rooting at proximal nodes. Leaf: basal, proximal cauline 1--5 cm, 1.6--6.8 cm wide, reniform to semicircular, 3-lobed or -parted, segments generally again lobed or parted, occasionally undivided, base truncate to cordate, margin crenate, tip rounded or occasionally obtuse. Flower: receptacle hairy or glabrous; sepals 3--4, reflexed +- from base, 2--5 mm, 1--3 mm wide, early-deciduous; petals 3--5, 2--5 mm, 1--3 mm wide; style 0. Fruit: body 1--1.2 mm, 0.8--1 mm wide, lenticular, wall thick, smooth or +- wrinkled, margins thick, corky, beak 0.1 mm, generally straight, deltate.

Ranunculus sceleratus L. var. sceleratus
Leaf: lobed or parted, segments undivided or lobed, crenate. Fruit: faces finely transversely wrinkled.
Ecology: Ponds, riverbanks; Elevation: < 1800 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCo, n SNF, GV, SnBr, PR; Distribution Outside California: to British Columbia, eastern United States; native to Europe. Flowering Time: Apr--Jun, Oct
Jepson eFlora Author: Alan T. Whittemore
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Botanical illustration including Ranunculus sceleratus var. sceleratus

botanical illustration including Ranunculus sceleratus var. sceleratus


Citation for this treatment: Alan T. Whittemore 2012, Ranunculus sceleratus var. sceleratus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 22, 2019.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2019, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 22, 2019.

Ranunculus sceleratus var. sceleratus
click for enlargement
© 2015 Neal Kramer
Ranunculus sceleratus var. sceleratus
click for enlargement
© 2015 Neal Kramer

More photos of Ranunculus sceleratus var. sceleratus in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Ranunculus sceleratus var. sceleratus:
NCo, n SNF, GV, SnBr, PR
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


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Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.