Fact Sheets


Ranunculus repens L.

Family :

Famille :


Synonym(s) :

Synonyme(s) :

Common Name(s) :

Nom(s) commun(s) :

Creeping buttercup

  • Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) achenes

  • Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) achenes

  • Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) achene

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Regulation :

Remarques Réglementation:

  • Quarantine lists of countries e.g. Mexico *may be updated without notice

Regulation Notes:

On quarantine lists of countries e.g. Mexico*.

*Quarantine lists of countries may be updated without notice.

Distribution :

Répartition :

Creeping buttercup is native to northern Africa, temperate Asia and Europe, introduced to Australia, New Zealand, North and South America (Lovett-Doust et al. 1990; USDA-ARS 2017). Widespread in the United States (USDA-NRCS 2017).

Habitat and Crop Association :

Habitat et Cultures Associées :

This species occurs in cultivated land, grain and forage crops, pastures, lawns, forest margins, pond and river margins, ditches and waste places (Lovett-Doust et al. 1990).

Economic Use, cultivation area, and Weed Association :

Utilisation économique, zone de culture et association de mauvaises herbes :

Duration of Life Cycle :

Durée du cycle vital:


Dispersal Unit Type :

Type d’unité de dispersion :


General Information


Creeping buttercup is tolerant of cultivation as it regenerates from root fragments. It has a spreading growth habit from stem runners. This species grows well in moist or poorly drained areas and can tolerate most conditions except for prolonged dry periods (Lovett-Doust et al. 1990).


Ranunculus repens infestation (Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org)



  • Achene


    • Achene length: 3.3 – 4.6 mm (average: 3.8 mm); width: 2.3 – 3.5 mm (average: 3.1 mm)


    • Achene is round and flattened with a thin rim around the outside

    Surface Texture

    • Achene surface is finely pitted; appears thick, but is not easily scratched


    • Achene is slightly shiny, yellow to dark brown

    Other Features

    • A curved ‘beak’ (style remnant) fused with the rim of the achene, up to 1.0 mm long

Identification Tips


Additional Botany Information


Similar Species


Similar species are based on a study of seed morphology of various species, and those with similar dispersal units are identified. The study is limited by physical specimen and literature availability at the time of examination, and possibly impacted by the subjectivity of the authors based on their knowledge and experience. Providing similar species information for seed identification is to make users aware of similarities that could possibly result in misidentification.

Ranunculus acris (tall buttercup)

Ranunculus acris achenes are a similar round shape, flattened, pitted surface, a style appendage and outside rim as creeping buttercup.

Ranunculus acris is generally smaller (average length: 3.2 mm; average width: 2.1mm), has dark-coloured achenes, and a thin and smoother surface with more wrinkling and less pitting compared to creeping buttercup.

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Flora of North America (FNA) Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico [Online]. 22+ vols. New York and Oxford.  Accessed December 29, 2022.

Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Secretariat. 2022. https://doi.org/10.15468/39omei Accessed via https://www.gbif.org/species/3033339 Accessed December 29, 2022.

Lovett-Doust, J. Lovett-Doust, L. and Groth, A.T. 1990. The biology of Canadian weeds. 95. Ranunculus repens. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 70: 1123-1141

U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Services (USDA-ARS). 2017. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysearch Accessed April 25, 2017.

U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS). 2017. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC USA. https://plants.usda.gov/home Accessed April 25, 2017.



Jennifer Neudorf, Angela Salzl, Ruojing Wang, Karen Castro, Katrina Entwistle

Canadian Food Inspection Agency