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Early Buttercup (Prairie Buttercup)

Ranunculus fascicularis
Family: 
Ranunculaceae (crowfoots, buttercups)
Description: 

Flowers showy, about ¾ inch wide, on a relatively small plant; petals 5, yellow, often recurved (bent backwards), about twice as long as the sepals; stamens many. Blooms March–May. Leaves longer than broad, mostly basal, compound, 3- to 5-divided, with linear to oblong, rounded segments that may be deeply lobed, and sometimes with a few teeth. Stems and leaves often with hairs.

Similar species: There are nearly 20 species of Ranunculus in Missouri.

Size: 
Height: 4–8 inches (when in flower; grows taller later).
Habitat and conservation: 
Occurs in dry or moist soils in open woods of uplands, rocky glades, and prairies; also near streams and in moist bottomlands.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Nearly statewide; uncommon in our northwestern counties; absent from the southeastern lowlands.
Human connections: 
This species can be cultivated in rock gardens, but be sure to get your seeds or plants from ethical nurseries.
Ecosystem connections: 
Numerous types of bees, butterflies, and other insects gather nectar from these flowers, and several types of birds and mammals eat the seeds.
Shortened URL
http://mdc.mo.gov/node/17231