Ranunculus grahamii


Ranunculus: From the Latin 'rana' frog, meaning little frog and probably refers to the plants typical marshy habit where frogs abound

Common Name(s)

Grahams buttercup

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon

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 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
2004 - Range Restricted


2012 - CD, RR


Ranunculus grahamii Petrie



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


None Known


Endemic. South Island, Mt Cook National Park within a very small area running from Malte Brun Range in the east to the main divide in the west as far south as Mt Nazomi.


A high alpine (2300 - 2800 m a.s.l.) species of rock crevices, ledges, and cliff faces within the permanent snow line. It has a very short growing season during mid to late summer.


Short, stout, erect, summer-green rosette-forming plant 70-120 mm tall. Rhizome stout, bearing numerous stringy rootlets. Leaves thick, fleshy, glaucous; radical leaves 3-4 or more; petioles 50-80 mm long with broad sheathing base, margins covered in white, sericeous hairs; blade 35-50 mm diam., glaucous, reniform, divided almost to base into 3 broadly cuneate segments, these again deeply lobed, succulent, coriaceous, glabrescent, margins with sparse long sericeous hairs. Flowering scape 1-3-flowered, 100-150 mm long, > leaves; bracts 1-2, similar to leaves but smaller and less divided. Flowers 20-30 mm diam.; sepals 5, broadly oblong, obtuse, external faces sericeous; petals golden yellow, 8-16, narrow-obovate, obtuse, nectaries near base, single or multiple; stamens numerous, in 2 or more series; receptacle broadly oblong or nearly orbicular. Achenes glabrous or sparsely hairy on body toward base. Body turgid, ovoid, 2.5-3.0(-3.5) mm long; surface dull, pale brown; beak 2.5-3.0 mm long, curved.

Similar Taxa

Somewhat similar to R. haastii from which it differs by its restriction to high altitude rock crevices, ledges and cliff faces within the permanent snow line, rather than mobile scree, less divided leaves (leaves divided to 3/4 rather all the way to the base), and less obviously flattened, sometimes partially winged achene beak.


February - March

Flower Colours



March - May

Propagation Technique

Difficult. Should not be removed from the wild.


A very localised endemic of high alpine cliff and ledge habitats, within the permnent snow line. Because of its habitat and altitudinal range it is not often seen except by rock climbers, so exact numbers of plant sin the wild is unclear. It is believed to be at some risk from Thar and Chamois. Provided numbers of these browsing animals are kept low it is not believed to be seriously threatened.

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commercially available




Fact Sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange (12 February 2007). Description based on Fisher (1965).

References and further reading

Fisher, F.J.F. 1965: The alpine Ranunculi of New Zealand. Bulletin, New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research 165: 1-192.

This page last updated on 14 May 2014