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Family Ranunculaceae

Description: Herbs (sometimes rhizomatous or stoloniferous), woody climbers or rarely shrubs.

Leaves alternate or opposite, compound or simple, usually palmately lobed or dissected, petiole base generally sheathing; stipules usually absent.

Flowers solitary or in racemes or cymes, commonly actinomorphic, mostly bisexual. Receptacle often elongated. Perianth hypogynous, usually whorled, segments free, often but not always differentiated into sepals and nectary-bearing petals. Stamens mostly numerous and spirally arranged. Carpels several to many or rarely only 1, superior, free and spirally arranged.

Fruit of 1–several follicles or a head of achenes.

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 70 genera, c. 3000 species, ± cosmopolitan. Australia: 10 genera, c. 60 species (5 genera, 12 species naturalized), all States.

External links:
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Ranunculaceae, Order: Ranunculales)

Several taxa of Clematis and Ranunculus at present named as varieties appear to warrant specific rank. Some species of Anemone, Aquilegia, Clematis, Consolida, Delphinium, Nigella and Ranunculus are horticultural ornamentals; some Ranunculus species are weedy and many are somewhat toxic to stock. The previous record of Delphinium halteratum Sibth. & Smith naturalized on the NC is not substantiated, being based on a misidentification.

Text by B. G. Briggs & R. O. Makinson
Taxon concept:

 Key to the genera 
1Fruiting heads of 1 or more follicles (sometimes united and forming a capsule); carpels with more than 1 ovule2
Fruiting heads of achenes; carpels with 1 ovule5
2Plants more than 10 cm high; leaves deeply lobed or divided3
Small alpine herbs mostly less than 10 cm high; leaves not deeply divided but often with 2 basal appendages
                       Back to 1
3Flowers actinomorphic, always solitaryNigella
Flowers zygomorphic, flowers in racemes or branched racemose inflorescences
                       Back to 2
4Leaf segments linearConsolida
Leaf segments lobed with crenate margins
                       Back to 3
5Usually climbers and more or less woody; leaves opposite; flowers often unisexualClematis
Terrestrial or aquatic herbs; leaves alternate; flowers bisexual
                       Back to 1
6Petals spurred; achenes on an elongated receptacle, fruiting head more than 10 times as long as thickMyosurus
Petals not spurred; achenes forming a globose or ellipsoid head
                       Back to 5
7Petals mostly white or yellow, bearing nectaries; anthers commonly yellowRanunculus
Petals often red when fresh, without nectaries; anthers often black-purple
                       Back to 6

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