Ranunculaceae Juss.

First published in Gen. Pl. [Jussieu] 231. 1789 [4 Aug 1789] (1789)nom. cons.
This family is accepted

Descriptions

Milliken, W., Klitgard, B. and Baracat, A. (2009 onwards), Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Morphology General Habit
Annual to perennial herbs, shrubs or lianas (Clematis); plants hermaphrodite or dioecious
Morphology Leaves
Leaves alternate (often) or opposite (Clematis), simple or compound, margins entire, crenate, serrate or dentate; petiolate; stipules absent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences: flowers solitary or of cymes, racemes or panicles, terminal or axillary
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers actinomorphic or zygomorphic, whorled, partially  whorled or spiral; calyx polysepalous or partially gamosepalous, the sepals (3-)5-8, often petaloid; corolla polypetalous, partially gamopetalous or gamopetalous, the petals 0-50,  imbricate, clawed, sessile , various colors; androecium with many free stamens, maturing centripetally, free from the perianth, 1-13 whorled or spiralled, the anthers adnate, dehiscing via longitudinal slits or longitudinal valves; gynoecium superior, apocarpous (1-)3-100-many carpelled, carpels non-stylate or stylate, ovules 2-many, placentation marginal or basal
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit follicles or achenes, dry or fleshy (rarely), aggregated (usually) or single, dehiscent or indehiscent.
Note
Notes on delimitation: A well-defined family resolved within the Ranunculales.  The family is considered as one of the most basal families within the eudicots. The family shows a wide range of morphological characters, especially in fruit types and floral organization.  Several classifications have been proposed for Ranunculaceae based on morphological characters (Tamura, 1995), on molecular data (Ro & al., 1997), and on a combined molecular and morphological dataset (Wang & al. 2009). The family was subdivided into three subfamilies and eleven tribes by Tamura (1993, 1995). This classification has been based on chromosome base number, carpel and fruit types. Phylogenetic analyses resolve the family as sister to the Menispermaceae and Berberidaceae. Ornamental plants. Many taxa within the family are pharmaceutically important and some have confirmed medicinal value. Plants belonging to the Ranunculaceae have complex chemical compositions, many of which represent important taxonomic characteristics and the same chemical constituents are shared among different genera (Peng et al., 2006).
Distribution
Although Ranunculaceae species are distributed worldwide (Wang et al., 2009), its members are most common in the temperate and cold areas of the northern hemisphere. The diversity is reduced in the tropics: of nearly 62 genera in total, only 11-13 are native to the Neotropics, with 90-100 species in total. 11-13 native genera: Aphanostemma St-Hil. - 1 sp., low elevation, southern Brazil to central Argentina. Anemone L. - 5 spp., almost cosmopolitan; in Latin America in temperate areas and zones of high elevation. Barneoudia Gay - 3 spp., endemic to high elevation in Chile and Argentina. Callianthemoides Tamura - 1 spp., endemic to high elevation in Chile and Argentina. Caltha L. - 3 spp., cold, humid zones of the world; the 3 species in the high Andes and southern South America. Clematis L. - c. 15 spp., throughout Latin America, mostly temperate and subtropical. Hamadryas Comm. ex Juss. - 6 spp., limited to high elevation in Chile and Argentina. Krapfia DC.  - 8 spp., confined to high elevation in the Andes. Laccopetalum Ulbr. - 1 spp., confined to high elevation in the Andes. Myosurus L. -  2(?3) spp., Laurasia, Mexico, and soouthern South America. Oreithales Schldl. - 1 spp., endemic to the high elevation in Bolivia and Peru. Ranunculus L. - 40-50 spp., almost cosmopolitan; in Latin America in areas with high humidity. Thalictrum All.  - 10 spp., Mexico through Central America and the Andes to southern Argentina. 4 introduced genera: Actaea L. Aquilegia L. Consolida Gray Delphinium L. 11-13 native genera; 4 introduced and cultivated.
Diagnostic
Distinguishing characters (always present): Flowers parts whorled (Aquilegia), partially whorled /spiral or spiral. Petals 0-50,  imbricate, clawed, sessile. Stamens many, free, maturing centripetally, free from the perianth, 1-13 whorled or spiralled. Gynoecium apocarpous (1-)3-100-many carpelled, usually with complete postgenital fusion. Habit: herbs, shrubs or lianas (Clematis). Leaves: alternate (often), or opposite (Clematis). Fruits: achenes, follicles, or berries. Aconitum - sepals and petals present, petals hidden by the sepals. Anemone - perianth without distinction between sepals and petals, with styles; achenes without veins on lateral surface. Aphanostemma - ovary with one ovule. Barneoudia - absence of basal leaves at flowering (See Meyer et al. 2010 for more details). Caltha - perianth without distinction between sepals and petals, all sepaloid; follicles. Clematis - liana, while all other genera are herbs or shrubs. Hamadryas - unisexual flowers, while all other genera have bisexual flowers. Myosurus - ovary with one ovule. Oreithales - absence of involucral bracts on the inflorescence (See Meyer et al. 2010 for more details). Ranunculus - petals and sepals present, sepals 3-6, petals with basal nectaries.
[NTK]

Ranunculaceae, Hutchinson and Dalziel. Flora of West Tropical Africa 1:1. 1954

Morphology General Habit
Perennial (rarely annual) herbs with alternate leaves, or rarely shrubs or climbers with opposite leaves; stipules absent
Morphology General Indumentum
Indumentum of simple hairs
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers hermaphrodite, hypogynous, usually actinomorphic
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Perianth
Perianth usually double, of calyx and corolla, or rarely the calyx petaloid and the petals absent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals imbricate or valvate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals when present often with a nectariferous claw
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium
Stamens numerous, free from one another; anthers dehiscing longitudinally
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium
Ovules numerous or solitary Carpels numerous, free or rarely partially connate, with a slightly bifid style or subsessile stigma
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit a bunch of follicles, rarely baccate, or of dry achenes with often persistent and elongated styles
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds small, usually smooth; embryo very small, at the base of horny or fleshy endosperm
[FWTA]

Gemma Bramley, Anna Trias-Blasi & Richard Wilford (2023). The Kew Temperate Plant Families Identification Handbook. Kew Publishing Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Recognition
Characters of similar families: Capparaceae: trees, shrubs or lianas, sometimes spiny; leaf margin entire; 4 sepals and 4 petals. Cleomaceae: stipules usually present, 4 petals and 4 sepals. Papaveraceae: often with white, yellow or watery latex, 2 sepals, carpels usually fused. Rosaceae: stipules usually present, flowers with a hypanthium. Salicaceae: leaves simple with salicoid teeth, unisexual.
Morphology General Habit
Perennial, annual, sometimes aquatic herbs, shrubs or woody climbers (Clematis)
Morphology Leaves Stipules
Stipules absent or minute
Morphology Leaves
Leaves alternate, rarely opposite or whorled, simple, trifoliolate or palmately, pedately or 1–2-pinnately compound and usually petiolate; margin usually lobed or toothed
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences terminal or axillary, racemose (Clematis), cymose, paniculate or flower solitary
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers usually bisexual and actinomorphic, sometimes zygomorphic, flower parts usually many, free, can be clawed, spurred or hooded, spirally arranged; sepals petaloid or sepaloid, (3–)5–8 or more, often caducous; petals (2–)5–many, sometimes absent, free, usually with a nectary gland; stamens usually numerous, free, arranged in spirals or whorls, anthers usually adnate and dehiscing laterally; carpels numerous to few or rarely 1, usually free; ovary superior, with a solitary pendulous or erect ovule or one to few ovules
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruits achenes, follicles, berries or rarely capsules (Nigella), often aggregated into heads, sometimes with elongated plumes that are formed by the persistent styles (Clematis)
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds small, endosperm oily, abundant.
Distribution
52 genera and 3,803 species. Worldwide except for Antarctica and desert regions of Africa and Australia. Ranunculaceae are most common in temperate and cold regions of the northern hemisphere; in the tropics, they are less common and then usually at high altitudes.
Note
Herbs, shrubs or climbers. Stipules absent or minute. Leaves simple, trifoliolate, palmate or 1–2-pinnate. Flower parts many, free and spirally arranged, stamens numerous. Fruit usually a head of achenes or follicles.
Description Author
Renata Borosova
[KTEMP-FIH]

Ranunculaceae, E. Milne-Redhead And W. B. Turrill. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1952

Morphology General Habit
Herbs or woody climbers or subshrubs
Morphology Leaves
Leaves frequently compound with sheathing bases and most often without stipules, spirally arranged or opposite
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence generally terminal and many flowered, more rarely with few flowers, or these solitary
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers regular or irregular
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals free, hypogynous, sometimes petaloid
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals sometimes absent, if present free, hypogynous, some nectariferous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium
Stamens indefinite in number, hypogynous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium
Carpels indefinite in number, few, or solitary, free or more or less joined together (if not solitary), with one or several ovules
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruits achenes, drupelets, follicles, or capsules
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds without arils, with endosperm
[FTEA]

Ranunculaceae, A. W. Exell and E. Milne-Redhead. Flora Zambesiaca 1:1. 1960

Morphology General Habit
Annual or perennial herbs with radical and alternate or spiral leaves, or shrublets or woody climbers with opposite or verticillate leaves
Morphology Leaves
Leaves simple or compound, entire, lobed or dissected, usually with sheathing bases
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences generally terminal and many-flowered or more rarely with few or solitary flowers
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers actinomorphic or zygomorphic, hypogynous, bisexual or sometimes polygamous or dioecious
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals free, often petaloid
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals free, sometimes nectariferous, often absent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium
Stamens indefinite in number; anthers attached at the base, dehiscing longitudinally
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium
Carpels indefinite in number, few or solitary, free or more or less united; ovules 1-several
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit usually of achenes, drupelets or follicles, rarely a capsule or berry
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds with endosperm
[FZ]

Uses

Use
Commonly used in horticulture, many are toxic and medicinal plants, with very few edibles (Nigella sativa).
[KTEMP-FIH]

Sources

  • Flora Zambesiaca

    • Flora Zambesiaca
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Flora of Tropical East Africa

    • Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Flora of West Tropical Africa

    • Flora of West Tropical Africa
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2024. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2023 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
  • Neotropikey

    • Milliken, W., Klitgard, B. and Baracat, A. (2009 onwards), Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics.
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • The Kew Temperate Plant Families Identification Handbook

    • The Kew Temperate Plant Families Identification Handbook
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0