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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Ranunculus abortivus L.
Early wood buttercup, Kidney-leaf buttercup, Littleleaf buttercup
Synonyms: Ranunculus abortivus var. eucyclus
USDA Symbol: RAAB
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
An erect to spreading biennial or short-lived perennial, 6-24 in. tall. Basal leaves are kidney-shaped; stem leaves are once- or twice-parted. Small flowers with drooping, yellow petals are numerous. A branching plant bearing kidney-shaped, basal leaves and inconspicuous, yellow flowers with drooping sepals.
With its small petals, this species does not look much like a buttercup, but its many separate stamens and pistils are typical of the genus. The species name refers to the reduced petals. At least 10 similarly small-flowered species occur in eastern North America.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Biennial Habit: Herb Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
AK , AL , AR , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY Canada: NB
, PE Native Distribution:
Lab. to AK, s. to FL, TX, CO & n.e. WA Native Habitat:
Rich, moist woods; alluvial areas USDA Native Status: L48(N), AK(N), CAN(N),
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Shade Soil Moisture:
Moist CaCO3 Tolerance:
Medium Soil Description:
Moist, rich soils. Conditions Comments:
of this plant may cause a dermatitis if it come in contact with susceptible people.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Ground-foraging birds and small mammals eat the seeds.
Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts. Low toxicity if eaten. Minor skin irritation lasting minutes if touched. Symptoms include burning of the mouth, abdominal pain, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. Skin redness, burning sensation, and blisters following contact with cell sap. Toxic Principle: Protoanemonin, released from the glycoside ranunculin.(Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
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Record Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff