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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Straightbeak Buttercup - Ranunculus orthorhynchus

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S1S2
(see State Rank Reason below)
State Threat Score: Low
C-value: 8

Agency Status


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State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Rare in Montana, where is is known from the western portion of the state based upon several specimen collections. However, only one collection has been made in the past two decades. Additional data are need to determine this species' status.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Straightbeak Buttercup (Ranunculus orthorhynchus) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 05/21/2013
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Population Size

    Score2-3 - Very Small to Small: Population size is imprecisely known but is believed to be <10,000 individuals.

    Commentpopulation estimates from known locations are unavailable.

    Range Extent

    Score2 - Regional or State Endemic or Small Montana Range: Generally restricted to an area <100,000 sq. miles (equivalent to 2/3 the size of Montana or less) or Montana contributes 50% or more of the species’ range or populations OR limited to 2-3 Sub-basins in Montana.

    CommentMost observations/collections are at least several decades old, thus the species' current distribution is uncertain.

    Area of Occupancy

    Score2-3 - Very Low to Low. Occurs in 10 or fewer Subwatersheds (6th Code HUC’s), though the species' distribution is not sufficiently documented to place it within one class.

    CommentMost observations/collections are at least several decades old, thus the species' current distribution is uncertain.

    Environmental Specificity

    Score1 - Moderate: Species is restricted to a specific habitat that is more widely distributed or to several restricted habitats and is typically dependent upon relatively unaltered, good-quality habitat (C Values of 5-7).


    ScoreNA - Rank factor not assessed.


    Score2-3 - High to Very High.

    CommentInvasive species and trampling have been identified as real or potential threats.

    Intrinsic Vulnerability

    Score1 - Moderate Vulnerability: Specific biological attributes, unusual life history characteristics or limited reproductive potential makes the species susceptible to extirpation from stochastic events or other adverse impacts to its habitat and slow to recover.

    Raw Conservation Status Score

    Score 10 to 13 total points scored out of a possible 16 (Rarity factors and threats only).

General Description
Stems 20–75 cm, somewhat hollow, erect or decumbent with hirsute to nearly glabrous foliage. Basal leaf blades narrowly ovate, 3–15 cm long, pinnate, the 3 to 5 leaflets deeply 1 to 2 times lobed. Flowers with petals 9–14 mm long, almost twice as long as the pilose sepals. Achenes flattened, 2–4 mm long, glabrous with straight beak ca. 3 mm long; head ovoid, 8–12 mm high (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Flowering from June-early August.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
AK south to CA, UT and WY (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 18

(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)

Streambanks and moist meadows in the montane zone.
Predicted Suitable Habitat Model

This species has a Predicted Suitable Habitat Model available.

To learn how these Models were created see

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

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).

Threats or Limiting Factors
Reported threats to Montana's populations of Straightbeak Buttercup are impacts from non-native species, and potential impacts due to trampling by hikers (MTNHP Threat Assessment 2021). One population occurs where non-native plants and a hiking trail are found. Competition with non-native plants has ongoing negative impacts, and these may be exacerbated by recreational use. Information on population impacts due to recreation that occur within a 10-year time frame are needed to evaluate the relative contribution from this threat.

  • 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.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Straightbeak Buttercup — Ranunculus orthorhynchus.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from