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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

RANUNCULACEAE

BUTTERCUP FAMILY

Dieter H. Wilken, except as specified

Annual, perennial herb, sometimes aquatic
Leaves generally basal and cauline, generally alternate, simple or compound; petioles at base generally flat, sometimes sheathing or stipule-like
Inflorescence: cyme, raceme, panicle, or flowers solitary
Flower generally bisexual, radial; sepals generally 5, free, early deciduous or withering in fruit, generally green; petals 0–many, free; stamens generally 10–many; pistils 1–many, ovary superior, chamber 1, style 1, generally ± persistent in fruit as beak, ovules 1–many
Fruit: achene, follicle, berry, or utricle-like, 1–many-seeded
Genera in family: ± 60 genera, 1700 species: worldwide, especially n temp, tropical mtns; many ornamental (Adonis, Aquilegia, Clematis, Consolida, Delphinium, Erianthis, Helleborus ), some highly TOXIC (Aconitum, Actaea, Delphinium, Ranunculus )
Reference: [Duncan & Keener 1991 Phytologia 70:24–27]

RANUNCULUS

BUTTERCUP

Annual, perennial herb, sometimes from stolons or caudices, terrestrial or aquatic; roots generally fibrous
Stem prostrate to erect
Leaves basal and generally cauline, generally reduced upwards, generally glabrous; petiole base flat, stipule-like or not; basal and lower cauline petioles generally long; blades simple to dissected or compound, entire to toothed
Inflorescence: cyme, axillary or terminal, 1–few-flowered
Flower radial; sepals generally 5, generally early deciduous, generally glabrous, generally green to yellowish; petals generally 5, generally > sepals, generally white to yellow, shiny; nectar gland near petal base, pocket-like or with flap-like scale; anthers yellow; pistils generally many
Fruit: achene, generally compressed, beaked, generally glabrous; walls thick
Species in genus: ± 250 species: temp worldwide, tropical mtns; some ornamental
Etymology: (Latin: (Pliny) little frog, from generally wet habitats)

Native

R. alismifolius Benth.

Perennial 4–50 cm; roots ± thick, fleshy
Stems decumbent to erect, generally 3–5 from base, generally branched from base, glabrous
Leaves: basal and lower cauline petioles 2–7 cm, blades 2–12 cm, ± oblong to ovate, entire, base generally tapered; upper cauline leaves linear to narrowly lanceolate, entire
Flower: receptacle glabrous; sepals 3–5 mm, ± reflexed, glabrous to puberulent; petals 5–7 in CA, 5–15 mm, 2–5.5 mm wide
Fruits 12–many; cluster spheric; body 1.5–2.5 mm, sides 1–2 mm wide, smooth to sparsely puberulent, back rounded; beak 0.5–1 mm, ± straight
Ecology: Wet places, streambanks, meadows, coniferous forest
Elevation: 1300–3600 m.
Bioregional distribution: Klamath Ranges, High North Coast Ranges, High Cascade Range, High Sierra Nevada, San Bernardino Mountains, San Jacinto Mountains, Modoc Plateau, n White and Inyo Mountains
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada
Varieties intergrade, difficult.

Native

var. alismifolius

Plant 15–50 cm
Leaf: basal blade 4–12 cm, oblong to lanceolate
Flower: petals 6–10(15) mm
Chromosomes: 2n=16
Ecology: Habitats of sp.
Elevation: 1300–2300 m.
Bioregional distribution: Klamath Ranges, High North Coast Ranges, High Cascade Range, n&c High Sierra Nevada, Modoc Plateau
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, Idaho, Wyoming
Synonyms: vars. hartwegii (Greene) Jeps. and lemmonii (A. Gray) L.D. Benson
Horticultural information: TRY; DFCLT.

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