Common Name
AUTUMN BUTTERCUP

Scientific Name
RANUNCULUS AESTIVALIS

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Photo by Larry England
Photo Courtesy of United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Autumn buttercup, Ranunculus aestivalis, is a Federally listed endangered plant that is a narrow endemic to (it occurs only in) the Sevier River Valley, Garfield County, Utah. A member of the buttercup family, this species is a finely pubescent, upright perennial herb. It is typically 30 to 60 cm tall, and its twice ternately divided leaves are largely in a basal cluster. Autumn buttercup produces abundant yellow flowers that can be seen from late-July to early October. It is found in low, herbaceous, wet meadow communities on islands of drier peaty hummocks, and sometimes in open areas, at elevations ranging from 1940 to 1965 meters. The species' habitat has been much reduced from pre-settlement times by the diversion of water for irrigation and the introduction of domestic grazing animals. There are currently only two small populations of the Autumn buttercup known to exist.

Sources:

  • Callister, D.C. and C.D. Schelz. 1990. Element Stewardship Abstract for Ranunculus aestivalis (autumn buttercup). Prepared for The Nature Conservancy, Great Basin Field Office, Salt Lake City, UT. 18 pp.

  • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich and L.C. Higgins [eds.]. 1993. A Utah flora (2nd ed., revised). Provo, UT: Brigham Young Univ. 986 pp.

  • Spence, J.R. 1991. Demography and monitoring of the autumn buttercup Ranunculus acriformis var. aestivalis L. Benson at the Sevier Valley Preserve, south-central Utah, 1991. Draft Final Report. Prepared by Manzanita Biostudies for The Nature Conservancy.

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