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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Lesser Spearwort - Ranunculus flammula
Other Names:  Ranunculus reptans

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4
C-value: 4

Agency Status


External Links

General Description
Stems slender with glabrous foliage, prostrate and rooting at the nodes or occasionally erect. Leaf blades lanceolate, tapered to the petiole, 5–60 mm long with entire margins. Flowers 1 per node; petals 3–5 mm long, slightly longer than the sparsely hairy sepals. Achenes glabrous, 1–2 mm long with a beak <0.5 mm long; heads hemispheric, 2–4 mm high (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Species Range

Range Comments
Circumboreal south to CA, NM, MN and NJ (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 7

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Mud along streams, lakes, ponds, tolerant of alkaline and saline soils; montane to subalpine (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this plant species or its genus where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus auricomus, Bombus bifarius, Bombus nevadensis, and Bombus bimaculatus (Macior 1968, Thorp et al. 1983).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Macior, L.M. 1968. Bombus (Hymenoptera, Apidae) queen foraging in relation to vernal pollination in Wisconsin. Ecology 49:20-25.
    • Thorp, R.W., D.S. Horning, and L.L. Dunning. 1983. Bumble bees and cuckoo bumble bees of California (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Bulletin of the California Insect Survey 23:1-79.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • King, C. R. 1953. The Ranunculaceae of Montana. M.S. Thesis, Bozeman, MT: Montana State College. 82 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Lesser Spearwort — Ranunculus flammula.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from