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Vascular Plants of California
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Ranunculus uncinatus

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.
Etymology: (Latin: diminutive of Rana, frog, from wet habitats)
eFlora Treatment Author: Alan T. Whittemore
Ranunculus uncinatus D. Don
Habit: Perennial herb (occasionally flowering 1st year) 15--60 cm, erect, not rooting at nodes. Leaf: basal, proximal cauline 1.8--5.6 cm, 2.8--8.3 cm wide, cordate to reniform, 3-parted, occasionally 1-ternate, segments again lobed, ultimate segments elliptic to lanceolate, toothed or crenate-toothed, tip acute to rounded-obtuse; distal cauline leaves reduced, deeply parted or compound. Flower: receptacle glabrous; sepals 5, reflexed or occasionally spreading, 2--3.5 mm, 1--2 mm wide, early-deciduous; petals 5, 2--4(6) mm, 1--2(3) mm wide. Fruit: body 2--2.8 mm, 1.6--2 mm, disk-like, wall thick, smooth, beak 1.2--2.5 mm, curved, hooked, lanceolate.
Ecology: Moist meadows or woodland, generally along streams; Elevation: < 2800 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, CCo, CaR, n&c SNH, MP, SnBr; Distribution Outside California: to Alaska, New Mexico. Flowering Time: Apr--Jul
Synonyms: Ranunculus bongardii Greene; Ranunculus uncinatus var. parviflorus (Torr.) L.D. Benson
Jepson eFlora Author: Alan T. Whittemore
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Ranunculus uncinatus

botanical illustration including Ranunculus uncinatus


Citation for this treatment: Alan T. Whittemore 2012, Ranunculus uncinatus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on January 29, 2023.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2023, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on January 29, 2023.

Ranunculus uncinatus
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© 2016 Steve Matson
Ranunculus uncinatus
click for enlargement
© 2016 Steve Matson
Ranunculus uncinatus
click for enlargement
© 2016 Steve Matson
Ranunculus uncinatus
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© 2017 Vernon Smith
Ranunculus uncinatus
click for enlargement
© 2016 Steve Matson
Ranunculus uncinatus
click for enlargement
© 2016 Steve Matson

More photos of Ranunculus uncinatus in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Ranunculus uncinatus:
NW, CCo, CaR, n&c SNH, MP, SnBr
1. You can change the display of the base map layer control box in the upper right-hand corner.
2. County and Jepson Region polygons can be turned off and on using the check boxes.
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).


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 (fruiting time in some monocot genera).