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

Ranunculus sceleratus L.
celery-leaved buttercup (cursed buttercup; cursed crowfoot)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #20469)

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Distribution of Ranunculus sceleratus
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Species Information

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Amphibious, annual herb, from slender, fleshy roots; stems 1 to several, erect, 15-50 cm tall, usually branched, smooth, hollow.
Basal and stem leaves kidney-shaped to semi-circular, deeply 3-lobed or 3-parted, 1-5 cm long, 1.5-7 cm wide, bases squared-off to heart-shaped, the segments again lobed or parted, sometimes undivided, margins round-toothed to -lobed, tips rounded or sometimes blunt, the stalks 2- to 4-times length of blade; stem leaves alternate, numerous, more deeply lobed and divided than basal leaves.
Inflorescence of few- to many-flowered cymes terminal to main stem and branches, the flower stalks stout, 1-3 cm long; receptacle hairy or smooth; petals 3-5, distinct, yellow, 2-5 mm long, 1-3 mm wide, egg-shaped, nectary on upper surface, the nectary scale about 1 mm long, not covering nectary; sepals 3-5, yellowish, bent back from near base, 2-5 mm long, 1-3 mm wide, smooth or sparsely stiff-hairy, early deciduous; stamens 15 to 20; pistils (50) 100-250 (or more).
Achenes, numerous in an elliptic to cylindric head 5-13 mm long, 3-7 mm wide, the achenes egg-shaped, slightly flattened, 1-1.2 mm long, 0.8-1 mm wide, thick-margined, smooth or corrugated; beaks stout, triangular, usually straight, 0.1 mm long.
The introduced var. sceleratus, with more deeply cleft basal leaves and cross-corrugated achene faces, is known in the Osoyoos area.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

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

Habitat / Range

Wet to moist ponds, shores, mudflats and marshes in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent in S BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, infrequent elsewhere; N to AK, YT and NT, E to PQ and NB and S to LA, FL, MN, IA, NM, AZ and N CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Ranunculus sceleratus

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) 470 1053 1665
Slope Gradient (%) 0 8 60
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
50 179 340
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 6 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(1), BG(2), BWBS(5), cma(1), ESSF(3), IDF(15), MS(1), SBPS(3), SBS(1), SWB(2)


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 sceleratus subsp. multifidus (Nutt.) Hultén

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References