Ranunculus ficaria - L.
Fig-root Buttercup
Other English Common Names: Fig Buttercup, Lesser Celandine
Other Common Names: fig buttercup
Synonym(s): Ficaria verna Huds.
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Ranunculus ficaria L. (TSN 18603)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.160590
Element Code: PDRAN0L0V0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Buttercup Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Ranunculales Ranunculaceae Ranunculus
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Ranunculus ficaria
Taxonomic Comments: Hörandl et al., 2005 transfers Ranunculus ficaria to Ficaria verna.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (12Oct2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNA), Missouri (SNA), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New York (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), Tennessee (SNA), Virginia (SNA), Washington (SNA), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (SNA)
Canada British Columbia (SNA), Newfoundland Island (SNA), Nova Scotia (SNA), Ontario (SNA), Quebec (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CTexotic, DCexotic, DEexotic, ILexotic, INexotic, KYexotic, MA, MDexotic, MIexotic, MOexotic, NHexotic, NJexotic, NYexotic, OHexotic, ORexotic, PAexotic, RIexotic, TNexotic, VAexotic, WAexotic, WIexotic, WVexotic
Canada BCexotic, NFexotic, NSexotic, ONexotic, QCexotic

Range Map
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Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium/Low
Rounded I-Rank: Medium
I-Rank Reasons Summary: This plant can strongly outcompete native spring ephemerals by emerging well in advance of the native species. It is fairly reproductively aggressive due to its ability to produce abundant tubers and bulblet that can separate and become its own individual plant. It readily establishes in mature, moist, forested floodplains and also inhabits some drier upland areas. It is established in 19 states in the U.S. plus DC and can rapidly become locally abundant once it is established in an area. It is very hard to manage, but it is possible to control this species.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Low
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Low
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: High/Medium
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: High/Medium
I-Rank Review Date: 03May2004
Evaluator: Lu, S.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Native to Europe (Swearingen 2004).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: This species is a non-native that is established outside of cultivation (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: Inhabits moist forested floodplains and in some drier upland areas (Swearingen 2004).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Low

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Insignificant
Comments: No reported impacts.

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Low significance
Comments: Forms dense patches on the forest floor (Swearingen 2004).

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:High significance
Comments: Displaces and prevents native plants from co-occurring by emerging well in advance of native species (Swearingen 2004).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Insignificant
Comments: No reported impacts.

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Moderate significance
Comments: Infests a few globally rare ecological communities in mid-Atlantic riparian habitats, and impacts globally rare plant species Phacelia covillei (L. Morse, pers. comm., 2003). Impacts native spring-flowering plant communities and the various wildlife species associated with them (Swearingen 2004).

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Low

6. Current Range Size in Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: Found in 19 states and DC (Kartesz 1999).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Low significance
Comments: Still scattered within general range (L. Morse, pers. comm., 2003).

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:High/Low significance
Comments: Established in a number of Eastern watersheds, but moderate proportion (L. Morse, pers. comm., 2003). In at least five TNC ecoregions and in at most 37 TNC ecoregions(Inference using data from Kartesz 1999 and TNC Ecoregion 2001 map).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Low significance
Comments: Inhabits moist forested floodplains and in some drier upland areas (Swearingen 2004).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: High/Medium

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: Increasing in range, even at coarse level (L. Morse, pers. comm., 2003).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Low significance
Comments: Potential range unclear, but already widespread in general range (L. Morse, pers. comm., 2003). Prefers sandy soils (Swearingen 2004).

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:Low significance
Comments: Spreads from plantings (L. Morse, pers. comm., 2003). Is carried downstream during flood events (Swearingen 2004).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:High significance
Comments: Can rapidly (ca. 10 yrs) become very abundant once established in an area (L. Morse, pers. comm., 2003).

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:High significance
Comments: Readily establishes in mature floodplain forest in D.C. (L. Morse, pers. comm., 2003).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Unknown

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Moderate significance
Comments: Because it emerges well in advance of the native species, it can establish and overtake areas rapidly. Spreads primarily by vegetative means through abundant tubers and bulblets. Each of these can form a new plant once it is separated from the parent plant. (Swearingen 2004)

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: High/Medium

17. General Management Difficulty:High significance
Comments: Very difficult to control, but it can be accomplished with persistence over time. Also may be mistakenly identified as a native wetland plant that occurs in the eastern United States, Caltha palustris, the marsh marigold. (Swearinge 2004).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Very difficult to control, but it can be accomplished with persistence over time (Swearinge 2004).

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Low significance
Comments: Impacts on native frogs and salamanders can be minimized by spraying glyphosate in March. Spraying also minimizes soil disturbance that is associated with mechanical methods. (Swearingen 2004)

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Low significance
Comments: Some riparian areas are relatively inaccessible (L. Morse, pers. comm., 2003).
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Post, A. R., A. Krings, W. A. Wall, and J. C. Neal. 2009. Introduced lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria, Ranunculaceae) and its putative subspecies in the United States: a morphometric analysis. J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 3:193?209.


  • Axtell, A.E., A. DiTommaso, and A.R. Post. 2010. Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria): A Threat to Woodland Habitats in the Northern United States and Southern Canada. Invasive Plant Science and Management 3:190?196.

  • Douglas, G.W., D. Meidinger, and J. Pojar, eds. 1999. Illustrated Flora of British Columbia, Vol. 4, Dicotyledons (Orobanchaceae through Rubiaceae). B.C. Minist. Environ., Lands and Parks, and B.C. Minist. For., Victoria. 427pp.

  • Horandl, E., O. Paun, J.T. Johansson, C. Lehnebach, T. Armstrong, L. Chen and P. Lockhart. 2005. Phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary traits in Ranunculus s.l. (Ranunculaceae) inferred from ITS sequence analysis. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 36:305-327.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Sell, P.D. 1994. Ranunculus ficaria L. sensu lato. Watsonia 20: 41-50.

  • Swearingen, J.M. 2004. Lesser celandine: Ranunculus ficaria. Weeds Gone Wild Factsheets. Plant Conservation Alliance - Alien Plant Working Group. Available: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/rafi1.htm. (Accessed 2004).

  • The Nature Conservancy. 2001. Map: TNC Ecoregions of the United States. Modification of Bailey Ecoregions. Online . Accessed May 2003.

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