This scarce member of the buttercup family is a creeping plant of mud and shallow water. The stem can be either single or branched, with the upper part and the leaves floating on the surface. The leaves have three-lobes, hence the common English name, and the small white flowers are held clear of the water surface on stems.
This species is intolerant of competition from other plants and thrives best in areas that are cut up by the movement of livestock or traffic, and where water levels are constantly changing. It can behave as either an annual or a perennial plant.
This is a plant of coastal strips and whose range in Britain has been drastically reduced. Although it has been formerly recorded in over 50 ten kilometre squares along the south coasts of England and South Wales, and from Herefordshire, it is now chiefly restricted to Cornwall. However, recent surveys have re-discovered plants on several sites in Devon. In Europe it is found from south-west Spain to northern Germany.
Three-lobed water-crowfoot is found in shallow or seasonal water bodies on heaths, and has a liking for ruts in cart tracks and gateways, shallow ditches and puddles, especially if these dry up during the summer months.
Three-lobed water-crowfoot is listed in the UK Biodiversity Action Plans (UK BAP) and is included in English Nature's Species Recovery Programme. It is also part of Plantlife's 'Back from the Brink' project, which aims to restore the fortunes of the UK's rarest plants, and Plantlife are lead partners on implementing plans for this species.
The UK Biodiversity Action Plan for this species is available at UK BAP.
Embed this Arkive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.