Common Water-crowfoot - Ranunculus aquatilis


Water-crowfoots are a difficult group and expert help is often required to establish accurate identity of species. It has two kinds of leaves, floating and leaf-like ones with 3 to 7 shallow lobes, and submerged ones composed of numerous leafy segments. Flowers solitary, white.

Similar Species

Other Crowfoots

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Ref. key in Stace.  The differences between species in this difficult subgenus are hard to tell from a photo.  Details of the flower petals and nectaries, and of the two types of leaf, are needed.  Capillary leaves are thread like, usually but not always submerged; and laminar are 'normal', usually floating or terrestrial, but not always.

Recording advice

Photographs: in habitat, of both kinds of leaf, and a close-up of flower.  Take a specimen, including both types of leaf, if present, and retain it until your record is verified; you may need to send the specimen to the County Recorder.  An explanation of how it fits the key in Stace is needed.


Shallow freshwater habitats, ponds, etc.

When to see it

April to September.

Life History

Annual or perennial.

UK Status

Fairly frequent throughout Britain, but scarcer in the North.

VC55 Status

Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland but care has to be taken with identification as there are a number of very similar species. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 75 of the 617 tetrads.  It is listed as Native and Occasional in the current Checklist (Jeeves, 2011)

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map

Species profile

Common names
Common Water-crowfoot, Water Crowfoot
Species group:
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
25/05/2007 (Calow, Graham)
Last record:
26/04/2020 (Harris, Steve)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

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