Bur Buttercup

Genus Ranunculus
Buttercup Family (Ranunculaceae)




Bur buttercups on a roadside

Bur buttercup
(Ranunculus testiculatus)

Bur buttercups bloom and produce fruit early in the spring, soon after the snow melts. Like other members of the buttercup family, each blossom usually has five bright yellow petals. The plants are only about 2 or 3 inches tall, and the flowers are very tiny -- less than a quarter inch across. They often occur in dense mats which cover large areas of the ground along roadsides and in pastures.


Burs developing from the flowers

The leaves are divided into finger-like segments, so that they resemble a bird's foot. (The buttercup family has the common name "Crowfoot".)
At maturity each blossom develops into a bur, which dries and turns brown.
This plant is a native of southeastern Europe, but has become widespread in many of our western states. It is highly toxic to sheep.

See some other buttercups