Water Buttercup

(Ranunculus longirostris)


Water Buttercup has showy white or yellow flowers during the summer months and has finely divided leaves.


Five-petal flowers can be white or yellow and rise above the water’s surface. Once fruit begins to develop, flower stalks curve back into the water and 15-25 nutlets are produced in a cluster. Leaves are finely divided and can be thread-like (white) or flattened (yellow). Water Buttercup leaves are attached directly or have a very short leaf stalk. When lifted out of the water, leaves are stiff enough to hold their shape. They are arranged alternately along the stems. Trailing runners and buried rhizomes are the source of these long, branched stems.

Ducks and other waterfowl feast on the fruit and foliage of Water Buttercup. Even grouse or other birds sometimes eat this plant. Water Buttercup can form dense mats in quiet waters. Wave action in larger lakes prevents these large colonies because the waves break the brittle stems.


Water Buttercup is common across the United States.


Seeds, stem fragments