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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. aquatilis L.

Perennial (5)20–80 cm, aquatic, often mat-forming
Stem submersed or floating, branched throughout, rooting at lower nodes, glabrous
Leaves cauline, most or all submersed; submersed blades 10–40 mm, 3–6-dissected, cordate to reniform, segments thread-like, petioles < 1.5 cm; floating or emergent generally 0 or few, like submersed or not
Flower floating or emergent; receptacle hairy; sepals 2–5 mm; petals 4–10(14) mm, 1–2.5 mm wide, white, base yellow or not
Fruits 10–50; cluster spheric; body 1–2 mm, sides 1–1.5 mm, with transverse, broken, wavy ridges, glabrous to sparsely puberulent, back ± rounded; beak < 0.5 mm, ± straight
Ecology: Ponds, lake margins, marshes, rivers
Elevation: < 2900 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province (except Channel Islands), Great Basin Floristic Province
Distribution outside California: to Alaska, e N.America, Mexico
Varieties intergrade, difficult to separate
Horticultural information: WET, SUN: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Native

var. subrigidus (W.B. Drew) Breitung


Leaves generally << internodes; submersed leaves 3–5-dissected, segments thread-like, petioles generally flat, wide ± throughout; floating or emergent generally 0 or like submersed
Inflorescence: pedicel recurved in fruit
Fruits 10–50
Ecology: Habitats of sp.
Elevation: < 1800 m.
Bioregional distribution: n Cascade Range, Central Coast, n High Sierra Nevada, San Jacinto Mountains, Modoc Plateau
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, eastern N.America, Mexico
Synonyms: R. subrigidus W.B. Drew
Much like var. capillaceus.

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