Western Buttercup

Several buttercup species are found in Northeastern California. Many of these species are difficult to identify. The western buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis),  a native, perennial found in Western Canada and Western United States, has distinguishing characteristics that aid in identification. Growing in moist soil, the entire plant is sparsely hairy. The completely yellow flower usually has five petals, but may display up to eight petals, and many stamens. The sepals are reflexed (bent back). Most of the three-lobed leaves are basal and have long petioles, while the few alternate stem leaves lack petioles. The flat seeds have a curved beak. These cheerful early spring wildflowers were photographed near Crystal Lake (Shasta County CA).

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