Stems erect or decumbent from short caudices, 3-22 cm, glabrous, each with 1-5 flowers. Roots slender, 0.5-1 mm thick. Basal leaves persistent, blades cordate or reniform, 3-parted, 0.5-1.8 × 0.8-3 cm, segments again lobed, base truncate or nearly cordate, apices of segments rounded. Flowers: pedicels pubescent or glabrous; receptacle glabrous or pubescent; sepals 3-5 × 1-4 mm, pubescent or glabrous; petals 5, 3-6 × 1-5 mm; nectary scale glabrous. Heads of achenes cylindric to ovoid-cylindric, 4-13 × 4-6 mm; achenes 1.2-2.4 × 0.8-2 mm, glabrous; beak subulate, curved or hooked, 0.4-0.8 mm. 2 n = 16.
Flowering late spring-summer (Jun-Aug). Open arctic and alpine slopes; 0-4000 m; Alta., B.C., N.W.T., Yukon; Alaska, Colo., Idaho, Mont., Oreg., Utah, Wash., Wyo.; Asia.
Plants with small achenes are often separated as Ranunculus verecundus . Achene size varies continuously over the range given, however, and it is not correlated with the minor shape difference mentioned by L. D. Benson (1948).