Goldilocks Buttercup agg. - Ranunculus auricomus


Short, slightly hairy plant. The upper stem leaves are deeply lobed with 3 to 5 narrow segments. Flowers yellow 15 to 25 mm. Petals frequently imperfect and quite often absent.

Similar Species

It is thought that there may be about 200 separate apomictic species (i.e. from seed that is wholly female in origin, produced without fertilisation).  These are all similar and have not all been fully described, so it should be recorded as a species aggregate.

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Basal leaves are palmately lobed, stem leaves are narrowly lobed.  Although the flowers are often imperfect, this isn't always the case, and sometimes it can't be identified from the flower alone

Recording advice

Photo showing basal and stem leaves as well as flower


Often in shady places such as woodland or copses, but sometimes in meadows.

When to see it

April and May.

Life History


UK Status

Fairly frequent in England and Scotland, but less common in the North of Scotland and the West of England.

VC55 Status

Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 119 of the 617 tetrads.  It is listed as Native and Occasional in the current Checklist (Jeeves, 2011)

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


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

UK Map