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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Allan Carson     (Photo ID #16205)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Ranunculus acris
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


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)
1020 15 1870
Slope Gradient (%)
9 0 85

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

308 10 358
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 1 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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.