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Ranunculus aquatilis (White water crowfoot)
Cressler, Alan

Ranunculus aquatilis

Ranunculus aquatilis L.

White Water Crowfoot, White Water-crowfoot, Water Buttercup

Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Synonym(s): Batrachium aquatile, Ranunculus aquatilis var. hispidulus, Ranunculus aquatilis var. typicus, Ranunculus trichophyllus var. hispidulus


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)

White water-crowfoot or water buttercup is an aquatic perennial, often growing in dense patches. The submerged stems are 8-24 in. long or longer and bear both submerged and floating foliage. The submerged leaves are divided into narrow, palmate divisions. The floating foliage is three-parted, each lobe again divided. Myriad waxy, white flowers are borne just above the surface of the water. Submerged and floating stems generally forming fairly dense beds with white flowers held on stalks slightly above water.

This plant is also found in Europe. The genus name, from the Latin rana ("frog"), refers to the wet habitat of some species.


From the Image Gallery

3 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AK , CA , ID , MT , NV , OR , UT , WA , WY
Canada: BC , PE
Native Distribution: AK to CA, e. to MT & CO
Native Habitat: Ponds, ditches & slow streams

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Aquatic: yes
Soil Description: Shallow water.
Conditions Comments: The bloom period of water buttercup is regulated by water temperature. In natural areas, cold water coming off mountain snowbanks delays flowering and thus extends the season.


Description: Not Available
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Ranunculus aquatilis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Ranunculus aquatilis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Ranunculus aquatilis


Record Modified: 2017-07-07
Research By: TWC Staff

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