The commonest kind and attractive, often coloring the fields for miles with bright gold, but the flowers are not so pretty as some common eastern kinds. The stems are branching and more or less hairy, nine inches to a foot and a half tall, with dark-green leaves, smooth, hairy or velvety, and velvety, hairy buds. The flowers are about an inch across, with from nine to sixteen, bright-yellow, shiny petals and pale-green sepals, turned closely back. The akenes have hooked beaks. This runs into many scarcely distinguishable varieties.

Common Western Buttercup   Ranunculus Californicus

Common Western Buttercup - Ranunculus Californicus. BUTTERCUP FAMILY. Ranunculaceae.

Few flowers are more beautiful and interesting in color and construction than Larkspurs. We are all familiar with their tall spires of oddly-shaped blossoms, growing in gardens, and we find them even more charming in their natural surroundings, glowing like sapphires on. desert sands, or adorning mountain woods with patches of vivid color. There are many kinds; ours are perennials, with palmately-divided leaves and usually blue or white flowers, very irregular in form, with five sepals, resembling petals, the upper one prolonged into a spur at the back, and usually four petals, two of which are small and inside the calyx-spur, the larger two partly covering the pistils and the numerous stamens. The pistils, from one to five, become many-seeded pods. Some Larkspurs are poisonous to cattle. The Latin name is from a fancied resemblance of the flower to the dolphin of decorative art. Spanish Californians call it Espuela del caballero, Cavalier's spur.