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

Ranunculus uncinatus D. Don ex G. Don
little buttercup (woodland buttercup)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jeanne Ross  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #13106)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Ranunculus uncinatus
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.

Annual, biennial, or short-lived perennial herb from coarse, fibrous roots; stems single, erect, 20-60 (90) cm tall, simple or few-branched, stiff-hairy or nearly smooth, hollow.
Basal heart- to kidney-shaped, 3-parted to deeply 3-lobed, the blades 2-6 cm long, 3-8 cm wide, the segments again lobed, the ultimate segments elliptic to lanceolate, margins few-toothed, tips pointed to rounded or blunt, the stalks up to 20 cm long; stem leaves few, alternate, the upper transitional to linear-lanceolate bracts.
Inflorescence of few-flowered terminal and axillary cymes; flower stalks to 6 cm long; receptacle smooth; petals 5, distinct, yellow, 2-4 mm long, 1-2 mm wide, nectary on upper surface, the nectary scale as wide as long, smooth; sepals 5, bent back or sometimes spreading, 2-3.5 mm long, 1-2 mm wide, early deciduous, hairy; stamens 10-20; pistils (5) 10-30.
Achenes, several to many in a globe-shaped head 4-7 mm long, 4-7 mm wide, the achenes egg-shaped, 2-2.8 mm long, 1.6-2 mm wide, smooth or sparsely stiff-hairy, margins prominent, keeled; beaks persistent, lanceolate, 1.2-2.5 mm long, curved and hooked.
Recognition of infraspecific entities does not appear warranted.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist meadows, streambanks and open woodlands in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; common in BC south of 56degreeN, rare in NW BC; N to AK, E to AB and S to NM, AZ and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Ranunculus uncinatus

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) 0 931 2195
Slope Gradient (%) 0 8 110
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 183 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 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(2), BG(1), BWBS(5), CDF(21), CWH(122), ESSF(71), ICH(41), IDF(49), IMA(1), MH(2), MS(63), PP(7), SBPS(13), SBS(84), SWB(8)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-intolerant, submontane to subalpine, Asian and North American forb distributed more in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region. Occurs on fresh to very moist, nitrogen­rich soils within boreal, wet temperate, and cool mesothermal climates; its occurrence decreases with increasing elevation. Tolerates flooding and fluctuating groundwater tables. Occasional on exposed mineral soils in forest openings or open-canopy broad-leaved forests on water-receiving sites; commonly inhabits recently deposited organic matter-rich alluvium. 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 uncinatus var. parviflorus (Torr.) L.D. Benson

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References