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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. glaberrimus Hook.

Perennial 5–26 cm, scapose or not; roots fleshy
Stems generally 1 from base, decumbent to erect, glabrous; branches generally 0–few, above
Leaves generally basal; basal and lower cauline (if present) petioles 2–8 cm, blades 2–5 cm, elliptic to round, generally tapered at base, entire to 3-lobed; upper cauline leaves 0 or oblong to ovate, generally sessile, entire or generally deeply 2–3-lobed
Flower: receptacle glabrous; sepals 4–7 mm, reflexed, hairs 0–sparse; petals generally 5, 6–15 mm, 4–8 mm wide
Fruits many; cluster spheric; body ± 2 mm, sides ± 1.5 mm wide, glabrous to sparsely puberulent, back faintly keeled; beak ± 0.5 mm, ± straight
Ecology: Open areas, meadows, rocky soils in coniferous forest, juniper woodland, sagebrush scrub, scrub
Elevation: 900–3500 m.
Bioregional distribution: Cascade Range, n High Sierra Nevada, Modoc Plateau, n East of Sierra Nevada
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, South Dakota, New Mexico

Native

var. glaberrimus


Leaves: basal and lower cauline (if present) ovate to round, entire to coarsely crenate; upper cauline leaves entire or generally deeply 2–3-lobed, lobes ± equal
Ecology: Juniper woodland, sagebrush scrub
Elevation: 900–3300 m.
Bioregional distribution: Cascade Range, n High Sierra Nevada, Modoc Plateau
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, South Dakota, New Mexico
Horticultural information: DRN, IRR, SUN: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 14, 15, 16, 18; DFCLT.

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