Ranunculus acaulis


Ranunculus: From the Latin 'rana' frog, meaning little frog and probably refers to the plants typical marshy habit where frogs abound
acaulis: From the Greek a-, without; kaulos, stalk, stem, meaning stemless, or seemingly so.

Common Name(s)

sand buttercup, shore buttercup

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Ranunculus acaulis DC.



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Herbs other than Composites


Ranunculus petriei Allan


Indigenous. New Zealand (North, South, Stewart, Chatham and Auckland Islands). Also Australia (Tasmania), South America (Chile) and the Falkland Islands.


Coastal and occasionally inland. Usually in saltmarsh or meadow, muddy ground near tidal creeks, on rock platforms or rock stacks, Occasionally on salt pans, limestone bluffs and along lake margins.


Perennial, mat-forming; rosettes tufted along pale, spreading, slender rhizomes. Leaves long-petiolate; lamina dark bronze-green to dark green, fleshy, glabrous, trifoliolate or deeply 3-lobed, 5-15(-20) mm diameter; lobes bluntly obovate, entire to shallowly toothed, terminal lobe entire or 3-fid, rounded to obtuse at apex, lateral lobes entire or with 1 basiscopic lobe. Flowers solitary, 5-10 mm diameter; scapes ± sessile, or very short, peduncles glabrous. Sepals spreading, glabrous. Petals 5-8, greenish-yellow, narrowly oblong or spathulate; nectary single, 1.5-2.0 mm from petal base, pocket-like. Receptacle glabrous. Achenes (6-)10-12(-30), not flattened, glabrous; body 2-3 mm long; beak straight, 0.5-1.0 mm long.

Similar Taxa

Distinguished from other buttercups by the glabrous receptacle, fleshy, obovate, entire, bluntly toothed or shallowly lobed leaves with the apex of the terminal lobe rounded or broadly obtuse, and by the straight achene beak.


August - April

Flower Colours



September - July

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from rooted pieces and fresh seed. An attractive pot plant.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 48

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


This page last updated on 11 Aug 2014