Ranunculus penicillatus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Ranunculales Ranunculaceae

Scientific Name: Ranunculus penicillatus (Dumort.) Bab.
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Stream Water-crowfoot
French Renoncule en Pinceau
Batrachium penicillatum Dumort.
Ranunculus aquatilis (Syme) Freyn
Ranunculus calcareus Butcher
Ranunculus fluitans auct.-non
Ranunculus pseudofluitans (Syme) Newbould
Taxonomic Notes:

It has been shown that not only are some populations of Ranunculus subgenus Batrachium composed of complexes of polyploid clones attributable to a single taxon, but that other populations may be composed more or less entirely of hybrid combinations involving up to three parents and indistinguishable from each other or unhybridised plants without molecular analysis (Lansdown 2007). Several current and conflicting taxonomies (Castroviejo et al. 1986, Stace 1997, Jonsell 2000, Rothmaler 2005, van der Meijden 2005) co-exist and are applied in differing ways in Europe and it is clear from published information that both the identification guidance and recording are inconsistent between countries, regions and taxa.

Assessment of the taxa “most widely recognised” against the Red List Criteria is, at best, hopeful and an attempt has been made to explain any conclusions reached. Distribution data are mainly derived from the only truly critical account (Cook 1966) although it is clear that even that includes some inaccuracies. The exceptions to this are R. circinatus and R. hederaceus which may, at times, be misidentified but are taxonomically discrete.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-06-04
Assessor(s): Lansdown, R.V.
Reviewer(s): van de Weyer, K. & Bilz, M.
Contributor(s): Rhazi, L., Grillas, P., Rhazi, M. & Flanagan, D.
European regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)
EU 27 regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)
This species is classed as Least Concern as it is widespread with stable populations and does not face any major threats.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

Ranunculus penicillatus is endemic to western Europe, occurring in Estonia, Denmark, Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Reports of this species from the Balkans, European Russia and other eastern areas are likely to be the result of misidentification (possibly of hybrids) or application of a different taxonomic concept.

Countries occurrence:
Belgium; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; France (Corsica, France (mainland)); Germany; Hungary; Ireland; Italy (Italy (mainland), Sardegna, Sicilia); Luxembourg; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal (Portugal (mainland)); Spain (Baleares, Canary Is., Spain (mainland)); Sweden; Switzerland; United Kingdom (Great Britain, Northern Ireland)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Ranunculus penicillatus is a very poorly understood taxon and consequently many reports of presence and abundance are unreliable. Superficially, published evidence would suggest that it is widespread and abundant throughout its range.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Ranunculus penicillatus is almost entirely restricted to flowing water, occurring very occasionally in oxbows and small floodplain pools that have been cut off from the main body of a river, in which it appears to survive for only a short period. It typically occurs in small to medium-sized rivers and streams but will also occur in larger rivers where it may form very extensive stands. It appears to have a broad ecological tolerance occurring in calcareous and acidic waters (although the latter more rarely) and in oligotrophic to mesotrophic or even eutrophic waters.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

There are no known past, ongoing or future threats to this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is categorized Critically Endangered in the Czech Republic (Holub and Procházja 2000).

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.5. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.7. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.11. Wetlands (inland) - Alpine Wetlands (includes temporary waters from snowmelt)

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education

Bibliography [top]

Association Tela Botanica. 2000-2008. Le reseau de la botanique francophone. Montpellier Available at:

Bundesamt für Naturschutz. 2010. FloraWeb. Bonn Available at:

Castroviejo, S., Aedo, C., Lainz, M., Morales, R., Muñoz Garmendia, F., Nieto Feliner, G. and Paiva, J. (eds). 1986. Flora Iberica. Vol. 1. Real Jardín Botaníco, C.S.I.C. Servicio de Publicaciones, Madrid.

Čeřovský, J., Feráková, V., Holub, J., Maglocký, Š. and Procházka, F. 1999. Červená kniha ohrozených a vzácnych druhov rastlín a živočíchov SR a ČR 5. Vyššie rastliny (Red Book of Endangered and Rare Species of Flora and Fauna of the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic. 5. Higher plants.). Príroda, Bratislava.

Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (Real Jardin Botanico) and Fundación Biodiversidad (Ministerio de Medio Ambiente). 2009. Anthos. Sistema de informacion sobre las plantas de España. Madrid Available at:

Cook, C.D.K. 1966. A monographic study of Ranunculus subgenus Batrachium (DC.) A. Gray. Botanische Staatsammlung München VI: 47-237.

Finnish Museum of Natural History. 1999. Atlas Florae Europaeae Database. Helsinki Available at:

Holub, J. and Procházka, F. 2000. Red List of the Flora of the Czech Republic (state in the year 2000) [Červený seznam květeny České republiky (stav v roce 2000)]. Preslia 72: 187-230.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.1). Available at: (Accessed: 30 June 2017).

Jonsell, B. 2000. Flora Nordica: Lycopodiaceae to Polygonaceae. The Bergius Foundation, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm.

Lansdown, R.V. 2007. The identity of Ranunculus subgenus Batrachium in the River Itchen. Environment Agency, Winchester.

Procházka, F. 2001. Black and Red List of Vascular Plants of the Czech Republic. Agency for Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection, Příroda.

Rothmaler, W. 2005. Exkursionsflora von Deutschland. Elsevier/Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, Heidelberg/ Berlin.

Stace, C.A. 1997. New Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Van der Meijden, R. 2005. Heukels’ Flora van Nederland. Wolters, Noordhoff.

Citation: Lansdown, R.V. 2011. Ranunculus penicillatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T164160A5757260. . Downloaded on 24 May 2018.
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