Ranunculus abortivus from Craig in SC

Hey Steven, I met you back in 1992! Janie Marlow told me to send this identification request to you.
Can you PLEASE tell me what this flower is and if it is exotic? It is coming up like crazy all over my yard this year. I never noticed it before. It has tiny yellow flowers with 5 pointed petals in a star. It has irregular leaves on the stalk that are different from the ones at the base. It seems to be coming up anywhere that it is sunny, but there is a ton of it along the edge of the rain gully. This is in Clemson.
Billy Campbell thought it was a buttercup, but didn’t know if it was exotic.
Janie said: “You’re right, this is not Fig Buttercup (Ficaria verna); I believe that it is a true buttercup (Ranunculus sp.). I cannot say which one, or whether it is native.”
Almost everything that comes up in my yard or under the trees is an invasive exotic, so I am assuming this is as well. Please let me know ASAP so I can begin getting rid of it before it all goes to seed.
Sorry, these are just mobile phone/tablet photos.
Thank you.


Hi Craig!

If this were in my yard I’d call it Ranunculus abortivus, the kidney-leaf buttercup.  Normally the lowest leaves are unlobed and sort of kidney-shaped and they get more deeply lobed near the flower usually in 3 lobes. However, the leaves are not usually toothed so I may be missing something.  The petals are always quite short.  As far as I know it is native and not usually considered to be weedy, though it is rather common and widespread.



Dr. Steven Hill, Botanist, SCNPS

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