[Buttercups: The Genus Ranunculus in the Columbia River
Gorge of Oregon and Washington]
Synonyms: Ranunculus eisenii, Ranunculus howellii, Ranunculus occidentalis var. dissectus, Ranunculus occidentalis var. eisenii, Ranunculus occidentalis var. howellii, Ranunculus occidentalis var. occidentalis, Ranunculus occidentalis var. rattanii, Ranunculus occidentalis var. typicus, Ranunculus occidentalis var. ultramontanus
Western buttercup at left found near Tom McCall Nature Preserve, east
of Mosier, OR.........April 5, 1997. The photo at right shows western buttercup blooming on Sevenmile Hill outside Chenoweth, OR.....February 21, 2020.
The photo at right is of western buttercup found near Tom McCall
Nature Preserve, east of Mosier, OR........April 5, 1997.
Western buttercup is a perennial wildflower with one to several
erect to spreading stems from 14-40 cm long arising from slender fibrous roots.
. The stems are hollow and freely branched but do not root at the nodes. The
basal leaves have long petioles at least as long as the blade or longer the
blades simple but lobed at least half the length of the blade or more creating
3 wedge-shaped segments. Each segment may be further lobed or parted and has
once to twice serrate margins. The blades typically range from 2-3.5 cm long.
The stem leaves alternate along the stem and are more deeply parted than the
The 5 greenish (sometimes tinged with pink) sepals are 4.5-
8 mm long with reflexed tips (Seen on the flower in the photo at far right.).
The 5 (sometimes 6-8) yellowish petals are oblong to narrowly obovate in shape
and measure 9-12 mm long and 3-6 mm wide. The stamens number from 30 to 60.
The western buttercup is found primarily in moist grassy areas
or open woodlands, in the eastern end of the Columbia River Gorge.
Western buttercup may be found from Alaska south through western
Washington and Oregon to California. The species may also be found near the
Deschutes River and in the Blue and Ochocco Mts. of central Oregon.
In the Columbia River Gorge it may be found between the elevations
of 100'-3000' from east of Troutdale, OR east to the Columbia Hills.
Close-up views of the flower of western buttercup as seen at the trailhead for Canyon Creek in the Klickitat State Wildlife Area.........May 8, 2009.
A deeply parted stem leaf of Western Buttercup.
The photo above shows a close-up view of a basal leaf of western
buttercup as seen along Catherine Creek in the Columbia River Gorge.............February
12, 2006. Note the numerous spreading hairs on the petiole and near the margins
of the blade.
Close-ups of a flower and basal leaf of western buttercup as seen in oak leaf litter in the Labyrinth in the mid-Columbia River Gorge.........February 28, 2010.
Western buttercup blooming along the Memaloose Trail between Mosier, Oregon and Rowena, Oregon........March 16, 2016.
Western buttercup as seen (left) near the arch at Catherine Creek, Columbia River Gorge............March 12, 2013. The photo at right shows the basal leaves of western buttercup as seen along a small creek between McClure and Marsh Buttes in the Memaloose area, Columbia River Gorge.........October 28, 2016.
An atypical flower (with more than the typical 5 petals) of western buttercup as seen at left at the Four Sisters (Columbia Land Trust) near The Dalles, Oregon............March 9, 2013. The photo at right shows basal leaves of western buttercup as seen at Catherine Creek, Columbia River Gorge......January 3, 2021.
Western buttercups blooming along a stream at the west side of Marsh Hill, Columbia River Gorge..........March 23, 2014.
An early blooming western buttercup as seen (left) at the edge of oak woodlands along the Memaloose Trail east of Marsh Cutoff Road and south of old US Highway 30, Columbia River Gorge............February 11, 2015. The photo at right shows western buttercup and the leaf of green-banded mariposa as seen along the Memaloose Trail where it crosses the northeastern shoulder of McClure Hill..........March 2, 2016..
Basal leaves (left) of western buttercup as seen USFS land near the Wasco County Rock Quarry, several miles northwest of The Dalles, Oregon..........March 8, 2015. The photo at right shows the habitat of western buttercup as seen at the same location...........March 8, 2015.
Western buttercup blooming along a vernally moist stream along the Memaloose Trail east of Mosier, OR......February 10, 2018.
Western buttercup as seen at left along the Memaloose Trail east of Mosier, OR........March 20, 2018. The photo at right show western buttercup in bloom at Catherine Creek......February 18, 2020.