[The Buttercups of Mt. Adams]

Suksdorf's Buttercup ??

Ranunuculus suksdorfii

(formerly R. eschsholtzii var. suksdorfii)

The photo above shows what appears to be Suksdof's buttercup as seen at the head of Kiger Gorge on the Steens Mt in southeastern Oregon......................July 28, 2004. Formerly classified as Ranunculus eschsholtzii, two varieties may be seen on the Steens Mt, variety suksdorfii and variety trisectus. I'm not sure that the pictures viewed here are definitive enough to distinguish which variety they are.

Characteristics:

Suksdorf's buttercup is an extremely attractive buttercup, often found in dense clumps, with somewhat succulent leaves and stems. It frequently may be found blooming in areas recently uncovered by snow melt.

The one to several erect stems are 10-20 cm high. The stems and leaves generally lack any hairs. The leaves are mostly basal and are ternately (3-times) to palmately divided. The basal leaf blades are 1-3 cm long and have slender petioles. The leaf lobes are wedge shaped, and are often 3-lobed. The stem leaves are divided into narrowly elliptical-shaped segments.

The bright yellow to yellow-orange flowers are found singly or in clusters of up to 3 flowers at the tips of the stems. The five shiny yellow petals are up to 2 cm long and wide, but are usually 8-12 mm long. The sepals are green, spreading, and 3-8 mm long. Numerous (40-125) yellow stamens and numerous, tiny green pistils are found at the center of the flower. The beaks of the styles are slender and straight, measuring 0.5-1.0 mm long.


Similar Species on Mt. Adams:

Snow Buttercup, Eschscholtz's Buttercup: Ranunculus eschscholtzii var. eschsholtzii - Petals generally over 8 mm long. Middle division of basal leaves entire to shallowly 3-lobed. The tips of the leaf segments are rounded. The styles are straight. Plants upright, 5-20 cm high.

Suksdorf's Buttercup, Subalpine Buttercup, Spruce-fir Buttercup: Ranunculus suksdorfii (formerly R. eschsholtzii var. suksdorfii) - Petals generally over 8 mm long. Middle division of basal leaves deeply 3-lobed to occasionally entire. The tips of the leaf segments taper gradually to a pointed apex with more or less straight sides. The styles are straight. Plants upright, 5-20 cm high.

Wetslope Buttercup, Modest Buttercup: Ranunculus verecundus - Petals generally 3-5 mm long. The middle division of the basal leaves are shallowly 3-lobed. The styles are curved or hooked. Stems spreading, seldom over 20 cm high.


Habitat:

Suksdorf's buttercup is found in moist mountain meadows, and amidst moist talus slopes.


Range:

Suksdorf's buttercup is a widespread species, found throughout the mountainous west, from Alaska south to California, and east to the western approaches of the Great Plains.


The photo above shows what appears to be Suksdof's buttercup as seen at the head of Kiger Gorge on the Steens Mt in southeastern Oregon......................July 28, 2004.

Paul Slichter