Yellow alpine buttercup
Vascular – Native
Dicotyledonous Herbs 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 conservation 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). 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.
2012 | At Risk – Recovering | Qualifiers: CD, RR
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | At Risk – Recovering | Qualifiers: CD, RR
2004 | Range Restricted
Endemic. South Island from Mt Rolleston and Mt Hunt (Arthurs Pass National Park) south to Mt Sefton near the Hermitage (Mt Cook National Park).
High alpine (1400-2030 m a.s.l.). On shaded to sunny, permanently damp, rock ledges, cliff faces, boulder chokes and falls usually in the immediate vicinity of permanent icefields and glaciers.
Stout, glabrous, perennial, rosette forming herb bearing flowering stems up to 0.6 m tall. Rhizomes stout, white, 10-15 mm diam., shortly branched. Rosette leaves glabrous, fleshy and coriaceous, on thick fleshy petioles 50-150 x 5-15 mm, bases widely sheathing; lamina 60-150 x 40-100 mm, pale green, broadly oblong, apex rounded, base rounded to cuneate, margin coarsely crenate, veins shallowly reticulate. Scape stout, 0.2-0.6 m tall, naked below, bearing from the middle up 2-4 large, sessile or shortly stalked oblong or rounded bracts from the axils of which arise several simple or branched flowering peduncles, each bearing 1-2 secondary bracts subtending the pedicels. Flowers 5-15 per scape, 30-50 mm diam., bright golden yellow; sepals 5, broadly oblong, glabrous; petals 5-6, cuneate obovate, emarginate, gland basally, large, naked, often split 2-3 times into parallel lobes; receptacle oblong. Achenes numerous, pilose with long silky hairs or glabrescent; body ovate, turgid,(2.2-)2.5-3.0 mm long, surface dull, light orange-yellow, orange-brown or grey nut brown; beak (4.0-)5.0-5.5 mm long, usually straight, rarely hooked or curved.
Close to R. insignis Hook.f. from which it differs by its completely glabrous leaves (those of R. insignis either have a dense covering of spreading hairs or the sparse hairs confined to the leaf margin), flattened (up to 20 mm wide) rather than terete (< 5 mm wide) petiole, and achene beaks which are 2-3X, rather than 0.4-1.5X the length of the body
December - February
February - May
Difficult. Should not be removed from the wild
An high altitude endemic, naturally uncommon because of its habitat preferences. However, it is directly threatened by thar and chamois which browse this species wherever they can reach it. Provided thar and chamois numbers are kept down this species thrives (hence the qualifier CD - conservation dependent). For this reason its presence and condition provides an excellent bioindicator of the relative density of thar and chamois.
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 (12 February 2007). Description based on Fisher (1965).
References and further reading
Fisher, F.J.F. 1965: The alpine Ranunculi of New Zealand. Bulletin, New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research 165: 1-192.
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Ranunculus godleyanus Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/ranunculus-godleyanus/ (Date website was queried)