Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Low Spearwort - Ranunculus pusillus   Poiret
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Section 6 » Order Ranunculales » Family Ranunculaceae
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AuthorPoiret
DistributionPresent over nearly all of the Coastal Plain and the eastern and central Piedmont; only a few records for the western third of the state, with just one mountain county (Buncombe) represented by a specimen.

This is a Southeastern species, ranging from southeastern NY and MO south to central FL and central TX.
AbundanceFairly common to frequent in the Coastal Plain and eastern and central Piedmont; easily overlooked and may well occur in nearly all Coastal Plain counties, and in Piedmont counties west to Stokes, Rowan, and Union. Very rare farther west, and seemingly absent over most of the mountains.
HabitatThis is a somewhat "weedy" buttercup, and though native, it grows in often disturbed but damp to wet sites, mostly in full sun. It occurs in ditches, margins of marshes and wet thickets, openings in swamps or bottomlands, and in damp or wet scrapes.
PhenologyBlooms from April to June, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a rather small species, easily passed over by biologists owing to very small flowers. It has small basal leaves, each on long petioles about 2 inches long, but with a small blade only about 1 inch long or less, mainly elliptical and entire. The several flowering stalks can reach about 1-1.5 foot tall, at times leaning. A few quite narrow leaves grow along the stalks. At the ends of these stalks are the tiny flowers, with 5 short sepals that are pale to medium yellow but only about 1/8-inch long, and the 1-3 petals are even smaller. Thus, a flower consists mainly of the sepals and spreading barely 1/4-inch across in full bloom. The entire plant is essentially glabrous, and often looks a bit fleshy and waxy. Though each plant is easily overlooked, the species can often grow in sizable colonies on exposed mud or shorelines or marsh edges.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Small Spearwort
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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