Tall buttercup

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.

Scientific name: Ranunculus acris L.

Common name(s): tall buttercup, common buttercup, tall crowfoot

Links: USDA PLANTS Profile, NPIN Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


– perennial

-leaves are

  • compound
  • simple
  • alternate

– generally flowers May through August in ME

– generally fruits June to fall in ME

-considered noxious in Montana

-toxic to livestock

– may be confused with R. bulbosus; see left sidebar of Go Botany webpage


-disturbed habitats

-meadows and fields

-shores of rivers

-dominates overgrazed pastures

Natural History:

-Ranunculus: Latin rana, means “little frog,”

  • many species grow in moist places



Hansen, R.W., S.B. Hansen and E.A. Osgood. 1991. Reproductive phenologies of selected flowering plants in eastern Maine forests. ME Agric. Exp. Station Tech. Bull. 143. 17 pp.

Heinrich, B. 1976. Flowering phenologies: Bog, woodland, and disturbed habitats. Ecology. 57(5):890-899.

Go Botany. “Ranunculus Acris L.” Ranunculus Acris (Tall Buttercup, Tall Crowfoot): Go Botany, 2021, gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org/species/ranunculus/acris/.

Winsconsin State Herbariuk. “Ranunculus Acris.” Online Virtual Flora of Wisconsin , Department of Botany, wisflora.herbarium.wisc.edu/taxa/index.php?taxon=4752.