Synonym: Ceratocephalus testiculatus
Family: Ranunculaceae – Buttercup Family
Annual herbs; dicot; 0.6” to 4” (1.5 to 10 cm) tall; hairy
Leaves: basal; simple; deeply 3-parted; 0.12” to 1.6” (0.3 to 4 cm) long, 0.12” to 1.2” (0.3 to 3 cm) wide
Flowers: 2 to 5 yellow petals, 0.14” to 0.31” (3.5 to 8 mm) long; 5 hairy green sepals; stamens 5 to numerous; pistils 5 to many; perfect
Pollinators: other Ranunculus species are pollinated by insects
Fruits: hairy achenes; most fruits in this family are poisonous because of the volatile acrid oil - protoanemonin
Blooms in Arches National Park: March, April, May
Habitat in Arches National Park: disturbed areas and dry areas
Location seen: Windows, Delicate Arch trail
Other: The genus name, “Ranunculus”, means “small frog” which refers to the many species of this genus that grow in moist locations. The genus name, “Ceratocephalus”, is from the Greek “keras” which means "a horn" and the Greek “kephale” meaning "head". The species name, “testiculatus”, refers to the ovate and solid shape.
This plant is a weed and was introduced from Eurasia. Several species in this family are grown as ornamentals, others provide drugs, and some are poisonous.
Did You Know?
Lizards, including the colorful collared lizard, are one of the most frequently seen animals at Arches. When not chasing flies or basking in the sun, they are often seen doing what appears to be push-ups. This odd dance might enhance their stereoscopic vision, helping them see what's looking back at them.