Ranunculus depressus Kirk nom. illeg.
Vascular – Native
Herbs - Dicotyledons other than Composites
The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.
2n = 48
Current conservation status
The threat classification status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS) – more information about this can be found on the NZTCS website This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley. Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – a suggested threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
2017 | Threatened – Nationally Endangered | Qualifiers: DP, RR, Sp
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Threatened – Nationally Endangered | Qualifiers: DP, RR, Sp
2009 | At Risk – Declining | Qualifiers: DP
2004 | Range Restricted
Endemic. South Island, east of the main divide.
Montane to subalpine (300-1200 m a.s.l.). Usually in shallow muddy, sparsely vegetated pools, or in swamps, river, tarn or lake margins. Never common.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
Information derived from the revised national wetland plant list prepared to assist councils in delineating and monitoring wetlands (Clarkson et al., 2021 Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research Contract Report LC3975 for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council). The national plant list categorises plants by the extent to which they are found in wetlands and not ‘drylands’. The indicator status ratings are OBL (obligate wetland), FACW (facultative wetland), FAC (facultative), FACU (facultative upland), and UPL (obligate upland).
OBL: Obligate Wetland
Almost always is a hydrophyte, rarely in uplands (non-wetlands).
Often diminutive tufted, non-rhizomatous perennial herb up to 50 mm tall of open muddy ground, tarn margins, shallow pools and swamps. Plants occasionally producing offset rosettes. Leaves 10-30 mm long, brown-green to bronze-green, deltoid, 1-2-ternatifid, segments linear, finely hairy. Flowers solitary, up to 10 mm diameteer, borne on short (up to 40 mm long) erect, hairy scapes. Sepals spreading, glabrous or with sparsely hairy. Petals 5, 2-2.8 x 0.5-1 mm, yellow, oblong-obovate; nectary single, positioned about 1 mm from petal base; scale semi-lunate. Receptacle hairy. Achenes few, body 1.2-2 mm long, scarcely flattened, glabrous, beak 0.3-0.5 mm long, curved at tip.
Morphologically very distinct and unlikely to be confused with any other Ranunculus found within its wetland habitat. The distinctive brownish-green 1-2-ternatifid leaves with linear segments, small solitary flowers (up to 10 mm diameter), hairy receptacle, and achenes with the body much > than the beak serve to distinguish it.
Plants from gravel-bottomed subalpine tarns at several locations in Central Otago are similar to this species, but are almost glabrous and have flattened linear ultimate segments of the leaf. The identity of these Otago plants (pictured above in the last photo) is currently unresolved.
October - February
November - March
Easily grown in full sun in damp soil but prone to powdery mildew and inclined to be short-lived.
Not very well known. Apparently rather uncommon and sparsely distributed throughout its known range. It is probably threatened by the spread of taller, faster growing wetland weeds, pasture grasses, and habitat loss through drainage or changes in the local hydrologic regime due to irrigation and/or other changes in local land use.
ranunculus: From the Latin ‘rana’ frog, meaning little frog and probably refers to the plants typical marshy habit where frogs abound
Where To Buy
Not commercially available
Fact Sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange (30 August 2003). Description based on Webb et al. (1988) and fresh specimens.
References and further reading
Webb, C.J.; Sykes, W.R.; Garnock-Jones, P.J. 1988: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. IV. Christchurch, DSIR Botany Division.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Ranunculus brevis Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/ranunculus-brevis/ (Date website was queried)