E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Ranunculus pygmaeus Wahlenb.
pygmy buttercup
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #30110)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Ranunculus pygmaeus
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from short stem-base and slender, fibrous roots; stems slender, erect or ascending, 0.6-3.5 (10) cm tall, becoming smooth below, minutely-hairy above, not hollow.
Basal persistent, kidney-shaped to semicircular, deeply 3-lobed or -parted, 0.5-0.9 cm long, 0.6-1.3 cm wide, the lateral segments lobed, bases squared-off or nearly heart-shaped, tips rounded to blunt, the stalks to 4 cm long, very slender; stem leaves few, shorter-stalked; bracts usually of 3 linear to narrowly lanceolate lobes, 5-10 mm long.
Inflorescence usually a solitary, terminal flower, sometimes 2-flowered, the stalks 1-7 cm long, smooth or hairy; receptacle smooth; petals 5, distinct, yellow, 1.2-3.5 mm long, 1-3 mm wide, egg-shaped, short-clawed, nectary on upper surface, the nectary scale smooth, about 0.3 mm long; sepals 5, early deciduous, spreading, greenish, 2-4 mm long, 1.2-1.6 mm wide, sparsely hairy above; stamens 10-20; pistils 25-50.
Achenes, several to many in a globe-shaped to cylindric head 2.5-7 mm long, 2.5-5 mm wide, the achenes egg-shaped, 1-1.2 mm long, 0.8-1.1 mm wide, smooth; beaks persistent, slender, awl-shaped, straight or slightly curved at tip, 0.3-0.7 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet seepage sites, snowbeds, shady ledges and scree slopes in the subalpine and alpine zones; infrequent, scattered throughout BC; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to Labr. and Greenland and S to CO and UT; Iceland, N. Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Ranunculus pygmaeus

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 1494 1643 1753
Slope Gradient (%) 2 11 34
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
58 139 225
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 5 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BAFA(5)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Ranunculus pygmaeus var. langianus

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References