Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Ranunculus glaberrimus
sagebrush buttercup

Distribution: Occurring chiefly east of the Cascades in Washington, with disjunct populations in the northeast Olympic Mountains and Ross Lake area of Whatcom County; British Columbia to northern California, east to the Great Plains.

Habitat: Sagebrush desert, shrub-steppe and ponderosa pine woodlands.

Flowers: March-June

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Perennial from a large cluster of fleshy roots, the several stems mostly erect, 5-20 cm. long, nearly glabrous, simple or branched above.


Leaves mostly basal, somewhat fleshy, elliptic to rotund, entire to deeply 3-lobed, the petiole 1-several times as long as the blade; cauline leaves 1-several, similar to the basal leaves but short-petiolate.


Flowers 1-several on petioles up to 10 cm. long; sepals 5, spreading, purplish-tinged, 5-8 mm. long, glabrous to stiff-hairy; petals 5, yellow, 8-15 mm. long; nectary scale wedge-shaped, 1.5-2 mm. long, forming a deep pocket, with hairs along the free portion; receptacle globose; stamens 40-80; pistils 30-150.


Achenes 1.5-2 mm. long, in a semi-globose cluster 10-20 mm. wide.

Accepted Name:
Ranunculus glaberrimus Hook.
Publication: Fl. Bor.-Amer. 1: 12. 1829.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
var. ellipticus – sagebrush buttercup    Occurring chiefly east of the Cascades crest in Washington, but also in the Olympic Mountains. British Columbia to California, east to the Rocky Mountains and northern Great Plains.
var. glaberrimus – sagebrush buttercup    British Columbia to northern California, east to the Dakotas
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Ranunculus glaberrimus in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Ranunculus glaberrimus checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Ranunculus glaberrimus atlas page.

CalPhotos: Ranunculus glaberrimus photos.

USDA Plants: Ranunculus glaberrimus information.

107 photographs:
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