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Ivy-leaved Water Crowfoot

Water Crowfoots, like this Ivy-leaved variety, are all water-dwelling white-flowered buttercups whose leaves are either lobed and float on the surface of the water, or more finely divided and growing underwater. What distinguishes the Ivy-leaved variety, apart from its distinctive ivy-shaped leaves, is the fact that it has no underwater frond-like leaves. It is the commonest of the Water Crowfoots in Scotland, growing anywhere it can find some wet mud or shallow water. It doesn’t like flowing water and is more likely found in a calm shallow puddle at the water’s edge.

The stem is either underwater or low-growing in mud, with some hairs sparsely present on stipules and upper leaf stalks. The leaves have 5 lobes with the lobe at the tip broader. Leaves are mid-green, glossy, fleshy and glabrous growing on thick leaf stalks.

Flowers are small, up to 8mm in diameter, with 5 white petals which are widely spaced, and 5 green sepals showing through beneath, almost the same length. In the middle the gynoecium, a greenish yellow mound, is ringed by 10 stubby yellow stamens with upright anthers. Flower stalks arise singly out of the axils of leaf stalks.

There are many subspecies and hybrids, including River Water Crowfoot (R. fluitans), which only has submerged feathery leaves and long (about 50cm), and Round-Leaved Water Crowfoot (R. omiophyllus), which is very like Ivy-leaved Crowfoot, but has rounder or kidney shaped leaves and larger flowers, about 15mm across.

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