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

Ranunculus repens L.
creeping buttercup
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #3183)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Ranunculus repens
Click here to view our interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Perennial herb from slender fibrous roots; stems several, sometimes erect, usually 1 or more creeping and freely rooting at nodes, to 100 cm long, often slightly hollow; plants hairy.
Basal egg-shaped to triangular, 3-parted, 1-8.5 cm long, 1.5-10 cm wide, the leaflets lobed, parted, or parted and again lobed, often with pale spot at the base of each sinus, the ultimate segments egg-shaped to elliptic or sometimes narrowly oblong, toothed, tips blunt to sharp-pointed, the stalks to 40 cm long; stem leaves alternate, the lower long-stalked, transitional to the simple to 5-parted bracts.
Inflorescence of few-flowered cymes terminal on erect stem and branches; flower stalks to 15 cm long; receptacle long stiff-hairy or rarely smooth; petals usually 5, sometimes 6 to 9 (to many), distinct, yellow, broadly egg-shaped to nearly circular, 6-18 mm long, 5-12 mm wide, nectary on upper surface, the nectary scale smooth, 1-1.5 mm long; sepals 5, spreading or bent back from base, early deciduous, greenish, 4-7 mm long, 1.5-3 mm wide, long stiff-hairy or sometimes smooth; stamens 30- 80; pistils (10) 20-50.
Achenes, several to many in a globe- to egg-shaped head 5-10 mm long, 5-8 mm wide, the achenes egg-shaped to irregularly circular, 2.6-3.2 mm long, 2-2.8 mm wide, smooth, strongly flattened, margins prominent, somewhat keeled; beaks persistent, lanceolate, 0.8-1.2 mm long, curved.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet lawns, clearings, fields, roadsides and ditches; common noxious weed in SW BC, less frequent northward on the coast and in SC BC; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Ranunculus repens

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) 5 446 1800
Slope Gradient (%) 0 3 25
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
5 56 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 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: CDF(17), CWH(30), ESSF(1), ICH(9), IDF(1)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-intolerant, submontane to montane, Eurasian forb introduced to North America where it is transcontinental. Occurs on very moist to wet, nitrogen-rich soils; its occurrence decreases with increas­ing elevation within montane boreal, wet temperate, and cool mesothermal climates. A wide­spread weed in non-forested, early-seral communities on disturbed water-receiving and water-collecting sites; most frequent on exposed mineral soil along streams. Tolerates flooding and fluctuating groundwater tables. A nitrophytic species characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


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 repens
Ranunculus repens var. degeneratus Schur
Ranunculus repens var. erectus DC.
Ranunculus repens var. glabratus DC.
Ranunculus repens var. linearilobus DC.
Ranunculus repens var. pleniflorus Fernald
Ranunculus repens var. typicus G. Beck
Ranunculus repens var. villosus Lamotte

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References