[The Buttercups of the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington]

Western Buttercup

Ranunculus occidentalis

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: Ranunculus occidentalis var. occidentalis

Western buttercup found near Tom McCall Nature Preserve, east of Mosier, OR.........April 5, 1997.

Western Buttercup: Ranunculus occidentalis (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) The photo at right is of western buttercup found near Tom McCall Nature Preserve, east of Mosier, OR........April 5, 1997.
Characteristics:

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 basal leaves.

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.


Habitat:

The western buttercup is found primarily in moist grassy areas or open woodlands, in the eastern end of the Columbia River Gorge.


Range:

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.


Flower of Western Buttercup: Ranunculus occidentalis (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) - Sepals of Western Buttercup: Ranunculus occidentalis (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)

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.

Leaf of Western Buttercup: Ranunculus occidentalis (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)

A deeply parted stem leaf of Western Buttercup.


Leaf of Western Buttercup: Ranunculus occidentalis (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)

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.

Flower of Western Buttercup: Ranunculus occidentalis (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) - Basal leaf of Western Buttercup: Ranunculus occidentalis (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)

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: Ranunculus occidentalis (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: Ranunculus occidentalis (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 blooming along the Memaloose Trail between Mosier, Oregon and Rowena, Oregon........March 16, 2016.

Western Buttercup: Ranunculus occidentalis (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) - Leaves of Western Buttercup: Ranunculus occidentalis (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 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.

Western Buttercup: Ranunculus occidentalis (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)

An atypical flower (with more than the typical 5 petals) of western buttercup as seen at the Four Sisters (Columbia Land Trust) near The Dalles, Oregon............March 9, 2013.

Western Buttercup: Ranunculus occidentalis (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: Ranunculus occidentalis (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: Ranunculus occidentalis (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 buttercups blooming along a stream at the west side of Marsh Hill, Columbia River Gorge..........March 23, 2014.

Western Buttercup: Ranunculus occidentalis (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: Ranunculus occidentalis (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) and sagebrush mariposa (Calochortus macrocarpus macrocarpus).

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 of Western Buttercup: Ranunculus occidentalis (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) - Habitat of Western Buttercup: Ranunculus occidentalis (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)

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.

Paul Slichter