Yellow Star-like Flowering Weed is a Buttercup

A yellow-flowered weedy looking plant seemed familiar when I saw it on the trail at Little Buffalo State Park. I try not to discriminate amongst my flowering friends, so even the smallest weed can get my attention.

This new plant was at the edge of the grass near the old grist mill, where the lawn meets the forest. I’ll have to go back and get some better pictures before the lawnmowers take it out.

Kidneyleaf Buttercup Blooms at the Edge of the Woods
Kidneyleaf Buttercup Blooms at the Edge of the Woods

Standing about a foot tall was a wildflower plant with small, star-shaped flowers having 5 petals. Two plants were flowering and each had only a couple of pale yellow blooms open.

According to the Peterson Wildflower Guide we’re looking at the Kidneyleaf Buttercup, Ranunculus abortivus, also known as the Small-Flowered Buttercup or Small-Flowered Crowfoot.

Leaves help to define this plant to species.

Basal leaves are kidney-shaped with wide, rounded teeth on the outer edge. The long-stemmed basal leaves can be seen at the bottom of the plant in the background in the photo below.

Leaves and Flowers of Kidneyleaf Buttercup
Leaves and Flowers of Kidneyleaf Buttercup

Stem leaves look quite different as they do not have their own stems so they arise directly from the smooth main stem. They are deeply lobed so that they look like 2-3 separate skinny leaves.

The two plants I saw were just starting to bloom.

Look forward to this Buttercup Family member to bloom in the woods well into the summer.

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