Stems erect or ascending, never rooting nodally, strigose or spreading-strigose, base not bulbous. Roots always both filiform and tuberous on same stem. Basal leaf blades ovate to broadly ovate in outline, 3-5-foliolate, 2.1-4.7 × 1.9-4.5 cm, leaflets undivided or 1×-lobed or -parted, ultimate segments oblanceolate or obovate, margins entire or with few teeth, apex rounded-acute to rounded-obtuse. Flowers: receptacle hispid or glabrous; sepals spreading or sometimes reflexed from base, 5-7 × 2-3 mm, hispid or glabrous; petals 5(-7), yellow, 8-14 × 3-6 mm. Heads of achenes globose or ovoid, 5-9 × 5-8 mm; achenes 2-2.8 × 1.8-2.2 mm, glabrous, margin forming narrow rib 0.1-0.2 mm wide; beak persistent, filiform, straight, 1.2-2.8 mm. 2 n = 32. Flowering winter-spring (Jan-Jun). Grassland or deciduous forest; 0-300 m; Man., Ont; Ala., Ark., Conn., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Nebr., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Pa., R.I., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Vt., Va., Wis. Ranunculus fascicularis is very similar to R . hispidus var. hispidus , and herbarium specimens without underground parts may be difficult to identify. Ranunculus fascicularis grows in drier habitats; segments of its leaves are commonly oblanceolate and blunt, with few or no marginal teeth; and its petals are widest at or below the middle. Ranunculus hispidus var. hispidus is usually larger in all its parts (leaves, flowers, heads of achenes); leaf segments are variable in shape but their apices are normally sharper and their marginal teeth more numerous, and petals are widest above the middle.
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
I have found this species in dry, sandy soil locally in only the northern counties, but it has been reported from Clark, Dearborn, Decatur, Franklin, Jefferson, Monroe, Shelby, and Vigo Counties and from the Lower Wabash Valley.
Perennial 1-2 dm or at maturity 3 dm tall, erect or ascending, not becoming repent; pubescence mostly appressed; rhizome short, regenerated each year; some roots very slender, others usually becoming thickened in late season and to 5 cm long; lvs mostly basal, the blade ovate in outline, longer than wide, the terminal segment stalked, all segments deeply lobed and the lobes generally incised or coarsely crenate; cauline lvs 1-3, smaller, sessile or nearly so, less divided; fls long-pedicellate; pet 5-7(-10), widest near or below the middle, 8-14 נ3.5-5.5 mm; anthers 1.3-1.8 mm; receptacle ±conic above the broad staminal zone; achenes rotund, the body 2-3.5 mm, sharply margined, but the adjacent lateral nerves not much raised; beak slender, straight or nearly so, 1.5-3 mm; 2n=32. Prairies and dry woods; Mass. to s. Ont. and Minn., s. to N.J., Md., W.Va., Tenn., La., and Tex. Apr., May.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.