Ranunculus occidentalis

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Ranunculus occidentalis
Ranunculus occidentalis 39003.JPG
R. occidentalis in Anacortes, Washington
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Ranunculus
Species: R. occidentalis
Binomial name
Ranunculus occidentalis

Ranunculus occidentalis, the western buttercup,[1] is a species of buttercup found in the western United States and Canada. Its distribution extends from Alaska through British Columbia and Alberta to central California.[1] The flower can be seen in open meadows, forests, and other generally flat areas up to an elevation of 2,200 metres (7,200 ft).[2]

Aleut Indians may have used juice from the plant as a poison,[3] its toxicity arising from the substance protoanemonin.[4] Shasta Indians coincided blooming Ranunculus occidentalis with salmon runs in the summer.[5] The seeds were used to make pinole, a staple food.[6]

This plant is similar to, and sometimes difficult to distinguish from, the California buttercup (Ranunculus californicus).


  1. ^ a b "Ranunculus occidentalis". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  2. ^ "Jepson Manual Treatment for Ranunculus occidentalis". University of California Berkeley Jepson Treaments. Retrieved 2009-06-05.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  3. ^ Flora of North America
  4. ^ Bank, Theodore (1953). "Botanical and ethnobotanical studies in the Aleutian Islands - Health and Medical Lore ..". Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters: 428. 
  5. ^ Holt, Catharine (1946). "Shasta Ethnography". University of California, Berkeley: 310. 
  6. ^ Ethnobotany

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