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Key to families | Table of families and genera

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Margriet Wetherwax & Dieter H. Wilken, family description, key to genera

Annual, perennial herb, woody vine [shrub], occasionally aquatic. Leaf: generally basal and cauline, alternate or opposite, simple or compound; petioles at base generally flat, occasionally sheathing or stipule-like. Inflorescence: cyme, raceme, panicle, or flowers 1. Flower: generally bisexual, generally radial; sepals 3–6(20), free, early-deciduous or withering in fruit, generally green; petals 0–many, generally free; stamens generally 5–many, staminodes generally 0; pistils 1–many, ovary superior, chamber 1, style 0–1, generally ± persistent as beak, ovules 1–many. Fruit: achene, follicle, berry, ± utricle in Trautvetteria, in aggregate or not, 1–many-seeded.
± 60 genera, 1700 species: worldwide, especially northern temperate, tropical mountains; many ornamental (Adonis, Aquilegia, Clematis, Consolida, Delphinium, Helleborus, Nigella). some highly TOXIC (Aconitum, Actaea, Delphinium, Ranunculus). [Whittemore & Parfitt 1997 FNANM 3:85–271] Taxa of Isopyrum in TJM (1993) moved to Enemion; Kumlienia moved to Ranunculus. —Scientific Editors: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.

Key to Ranunculaceae


Bruce A. Ford & Dieter H. Wilken

Perennial herb from stout, branched caudex. Stem: 1–few, ascending to erect, branched or not. Leaf: 1–4, generally 1–3-ternate or -pinnate. Inflorescence: raceme, axillary or terminal. Flower: sepals 3–5, petal-like, early-deciduous; petals 4–10, spoon-shaped to obovate, clawed; pistil 1, placentas 2, ovules several. Fruit: berry.
± 8 species: temperate North America, Eurasia. (Greek: ancient name, from wet habitat, similarity to Sambucus leaves) Fruit TOXIC to humans.

A. rubra (Aiton) Willd.
Plant (2)3–10 dm. Stem: few-branched distally, sparsely puberulent. Leaf: 10–40 cm, lower 2–3-ternate, upper 1–2-ternate, leaflets 2–9 cm, toothed to irregularly cut, lateral lanceolate to ovate, terminal widely ovate to ± round. Inflorescence: pedicels spreading to ascending, 5–8 mm, 6–37 mm in fruit. Flower: sepals 2–5 mm, ± white or ± purple-green; petals ± = sepals, white; stamens 3–7 mm. Fruit: 5–10 mm, red or white, shiny.
n=8. Deep soils, moist, open to shaded sites, mixed-evergreen or conifer forests; < 2800 m. Northwestern California, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada (except Tehachapi Mountain Area), San Francisco Bay Area, Outer South Coast Ranges, San Bernardino Mountains; to Alaska, northeastern North America. [Actaea rubra subsp. arguta (Nutt.) Hultén] May–Sep [Online Interchange]

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Dec 1 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Actaea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Dec 1 2015

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click for enlargement Actaea rubra
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2003 Steve Matson

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Actaea rubra Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.