Unknown plant, NE Alberta

Submitted by Lori S. on

I hate to give up but I'm drawing a blank on the identity of this plant that I saw along the shores of the Clearwater River in NE Alberta this fall! Does anyone know what it is? It may be something that is adapted to saline conditions, as there were many saline springs along the banks in this area.
Thanks in advance for any ideas.


Submitted by Middleton on Fri, 11/02/2012 - 21:27

Nice looking plant!  The seed head looks similar to burnet but the leaves scream saxifrage.  Long shot googling for saxifraga with elongated flowers brought up the genus Leptarrhena pyrolifolia on the Saxifrage Society web page.  Probably not the answer but it was fun looking!

Submitted by Lori S. on Sat, 11/03/2012 - 09:58

Thanks very much for the suggestions, Sharon and Trond.
Leptarrhena pyrolifolia is alpine/subalpine, and I'm somewhat familiar with it (from having to figure out the difference between it and another alpine Saxifragaceae,  Saxifraga occidentalis, which I'm frequently mixing it up with!)

The suggestion of the genus Ranunculus seems very promising.  R. rhomboideus doesn't seem quite right (it's "rather densely hirsute", along with leaf differences).   I'll go through the Ranunculus key and see if I can find a match.    :)

Submitted by McGregorUS on Sun, 11/04/2012 - 02:20

... and Ranunculus cymbalaria is a salt adapted species so it helps confirm.

Submitted by Lori S. on Sun, 11/04/2012 - 11:16

Thanks, Trond and Malcolm.  In retrospect, I'm kicking myself for not twigging onto Ranunculus as a starting point!

Submitted by Hoy on Sun, 11/04/2012 - 14:20

Lori, don't kick too hard! It wasn't the easiest of buttercups you know!

Submitted by cohan on Tue, 11/06/2012 - 12:17

Looks like a cute one- glad you found a name! There are a a few small Ranunculus around here that I haven't sorted out, but I don't think I've seen this one..
Were any of the seeds ripe? Seems like it must be a late flowering species if seeds were unripe so late..