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Bur Buttercup

Ranunculus testiculatus

Ranunculus testiculatus

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?

Detail of petroglyph panel

Native Americans never inhabited Arches on a year-round basis, though they certainly roamed the area searching for wild game, useful plants and rocks for tool-making. Petroglyphs near Wolfe Ranch are thought to have been created by Indians from the Ute/Paiute cultures. More...