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

Ranunculus pensylvanicus L. f.
Pennsylvania buttercup (bristly crowfoot)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #17026)

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

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Annual or short-lived perennial herb from a cluster of fibrous roots; stems single, erect, 30-60 (100) cm tall, hollow; plants stiff-hairy.
Basal, persistent, heart-shaped, 3-parted, 1.6-7 cm long, 3-9 cm wide, the leaflets usually deeply cleft, the ultimate segments narrowly elliptic, coarsely sharp-toothed, tips pointed, the leaf stalks to 15 cm long, the stalks of lateral leaflets 3-20 mm long; stem leaves alternate, 3 to 8, transitional to upper 3- to 5-lobed and toothed bracts.
Inflorescence of few-flowered, terminal cymes, the flower stalks to 6 cm long; receptacle long stiff-hairy; petals 5, distinct, yellow, 2-4 mm long, 1-2.5 mm wide, broadly egg-shaped, nectary on upper surface, the scale about 0.7 mm long, smooth; sepals 5, bent back about 1 mm above base, deciduous, 3-5 mm long, 1.5-2 mm wide, more or less long stiff-hairy; stamens 15-25; pistils 50-80.
Grouped in a cylindric head 9-12 mm long, 5-7 mm wide, the achenes elliptic to egg-shaped, 1.8-2.8 mm long, 1.6-2 mm wide, smooth, margins slightly keeled; beaks persistent, broadly lanceolate or triangular, 0.6-0.8 mm long, straight or nearly so.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Summer
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Black
Present over the Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Wet to moist streambanks, ditches, thickets, meadows and forest edges in the lowland and montane zones; frequent S of 56degreeN east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, rare westward; E to NF and S to NJ, NM, AZ, ID, MT and WA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Ranunculus pensylvanicus

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) 170 782 1740
Slope Gradient (%) 0 2 5
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
90 137 190
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 5 6
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: CWH(2), ICH(1), SBPS(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.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References