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Book cover - Alpine Plants of New ZealandAlpine Plants
of New Zealand


Ranunculus lyallii
Mountain Lily / Mt Cook Lily / Mountain Buttercup / Shepherd's Lily


Ranunculus lyalliiReproduced from
Alpine Plants of New Zealand
ISBN 0 7900 0525 5
by kind permission of the author, Lawrie Metcalf and Reed Publishing (NZ) Ltd

Publication or other use of images or descriptive text on these pages is unauthorised unless written permission is obtained from the author and publisher. Appropriate acknowledgement of the publication Alpine Plants of New Zealand must always be given.


  • A robust herb, usually 60-75 cm tall, but in very good situations may be up to 1 metre.
  • Leaves: Saucer-shaped, 15-40 cm in diameter, deep shining green, thick and rather leathery. Leaf stalks long and attached to the centre of the blade.
  • Flowers: Numerous, on branched stems; 5-8 cm in diameter, white with a green cone-like centre surrounded by yellow stamens.

Ranunculus lyalliiDistribution & Habitat

  • South and Stewart Islands. About and west of the main divide, from Mt Buckland near Westport, southwards. Rare on Mt Anglem on Stewart Island. 700-1500 metres.
  • Subalpine to low alpine throughout most of the wet mountain areas, particularly from Arthur's Pass southwards. Usually in snow tussock-herbfield, alongside streams, in wet hollows and flushes, and on rock bluffs and faces.


  • Habitat: In some areas introduced browsing animals have virtually restricted it to inaccessible habitats such as rock bluffs.
  • Flowering: This species is justly acclaimed as one of the most magnificent buttercups in the world. Depending on altitude it usually flowers from late November or early December to about mid January.


Web-notes: Alpine Garden Links

On this site

Reproduced from Alpine Plants of New Zealand:

Also see the article by Raymond Mole on:
New Zealand Alpine Plants: A Challenge for Growers


NZAGSExternal Links

New Zealand Alpine Garden Society


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Last updated: March 1, 2021