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

Ranunculus acris L.
meadow buttercup (tall buttercup)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Allan Carson  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #16205)

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Distribution of Ranunculus acris
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from fibrous-rooted stem-base, sometimes with rhizomes; stems single, erect or nearly so, 20-110 cm tall, stiff-hairy or smooth, hollow.
Basal 5-sided in outline, deeply 3- to 5-parted, 2-5 cm long, 3-10 cm wide, the leaflets 1- to 2-times incised, the ultimate segments narrowly elliptic or oblong to lanceolate, margins toothed or shallowly lobed, tips pointed to rounded, the stalks up to 20 cm long; lower stem leaves similar to basal, but shorter-stalked, transitional to the upper stem leaves and bracts, these reduced to 3 linear segments unstalked on the sheath, entire or few-toothed.
Inflorescence few- to many-flowered cymes; flower stalks to 12 cm long; receptacle smooth; petals usually 5, distinct, yellow, 8-14 mm long, 7-13 mm wide, nectary on upper surface, the nectary scale smooth, just over 1 mm long; sepals 5, spreading, early deciduous, greenish, 4-6 mm long, 2-5 mm wide, long stiff-hairy; stamens 15-30; pistils 20-40 (50).
Achenes, 15 to 50 in a globe-shaped head 5-7 mm wide, the achenes egg-shaped, 2-3 mm long, 1.8-2.4 mm wide, smooth, margins prominent, keeled; beaks wide and flattened, 0.2-1 mm long, tip of variable length, curved or straight, awl-tipped.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic meadows, pastures, clearings, fields and roadsides in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent in BC S of 56ÝÜN; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Ranunculus acris

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) 15 1020 1870
Slope Gradient (%) 0 9 85
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
10 308 358
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 5 7
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(4), BWBS(2), CDF(1), CWH(4), ESSF(16), ICH(29), IDF(17), MS(17), PP(1), SBPS(1), SBS(42), SWB(1)


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 acris subsp. acris
Ranunculus acris subsp. strigulosus (Schur) Hyl.
Ranunculus acris var. latisectus G. Beck
Ranunculus acris var. stevenii (Andrz. ex Besser) Lange
Ranunculus acris var. typicus G. Beck
Ranunculus acris var. villosus (Drab.) S.M. Coles
Ranunculus boreanus Jord.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References