Fig. 106. - Early Buttercup (Ranunculus fascicularis). X 1/3.
Seed-time: Late June to August.
Range: Nova Scotia to Virginia. On the Atlantic Coast an immigrant from Europe, but several varieties are native in the West and the South.
Habitat: Moist meadows and pastures, roadsides, waste places.
Where this plant is plentiful it is likely to monopolize a large amount of space; for after the early bloom is past its energies are devoted, for the remainder of the growing season, to throwing out numerous slender runners, one to three feet long, from every joint of which a young plant may take root. The roots are fibrous and tufted; the stem is about a foot high, and hairy, but often only slightly so; the runners also are usually hairy at the base, the leaves on veins and petioles. Leaves three-parted, all three segments usually, and the terminal one always, with a footstalk; all irregularly cut and toothed, often blotched with white. Flowers bright golden yellow, nearly an inch broad, the petals ob-ovate, much longer than the spreading sepals. Fruits in globose heads, the achenes flattened and having a thin margin and a stout, bent beak. (Fig. 107.)
Its manner of growth causes the weed to form patches, which, if not too many and too large, may be cleaned out with the hoe, of course before the first seed is developed. Ground too rankly overspread to be so-cleansed should be put under cultivation for a season.