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Genus Ranunculus Family Ranunculaceae

Synonyms: Batrachium APNI*

Description: Pilose or glabrous annuals or perennials.

Leaves commonly forming a rosette, simple or compound, often palmately lobed or divided.

Flowers solitary or in cymes, actinomorphic, bisexual. Sepals usually 5. Petals usually 5 or more, rarely fewer, yellow or white [or reddish], each with a nectary towards the base and commonly covered by a nectary lobe, rarely nectaries more numerous or not ± basal. Stamens usually numerous. Carpels many.

Fruit a head of achenes, each with a short beak derived from the persistent style.



Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 400–500 species, chiefly northern & southern temperate regions. Australia: c. 47 species (10 species naturalized), all States.

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

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Ranunculus parviflorus,    Ranunculus sardous

 Key to the species 
1Aquatic herbs with submerged leaves divided into filiform segments and with membranous stipules; petals whiteRanunculus trichophyllus
Terrestrial or aquatic herbs, leaf segments broader, without distinct stipules; petals yellow or white2
2Petals white5
Petals yellow or greenish yellow
                       Back to 1
3Stolons present6
Stolons absent
                       Back to 2
4Sepals spreading and petals more than 5 in number and flowers more than 3 mm diam14
Either sepals reflexed or if sepals spreading then petals 1–3 and flowers less than 3 mm diam
                       Back to 3
5Robust herb mostly 15–30 cm high; leaves palmately lobed with broad overlapping segmentsRanunculus anemoneus
Diminutive herb 1–8 cm high; leaves pinnately divided into narrow-linear segments < 2 mm wide
                       Back to 2
Ranunculus millanii
6Petals more than 9 mm wide, with a broad-cuneate nectary lobeRanunculus repens
Petals less than 9 mm wide, nectary lobe not cuneate
                       Back to 3
7Nectary without a distinct lobe but with a thick crescentic or semicircular ridge8
Nectary with a distinct lobe, free for most of its length or attached at sides to form a pocket
                       Back to 6
8Leaves simple, entire or with 1 tooth on each side32
Leaves palmately divided into few or many lobes
                       Back to 7
Ranunculus amphitrichus
9Lateral faces of mature achene with 2–5 prominent, broad, oblique or nearly longitudinal ridgesRanunculus collinus
Lateral faces of achenes smooth, undulate or with numerous transverse ridges
                       Back to 7
10Leaves ternate, the primary segments entire or each with 2–5 lobes, thick-textured11
Leaves ternately or palmately divided, the primary segments with numerous lobes or teeth, thin- or thick-textured
                       Back to 9
11Petals 7–12 mm long, 2–4 mm wideRanunculus papulentus
Petals 3.5–5.5 mm long, 0.6–1.5 mm wide
                       Back to 10
Ranunculus diminutus
12Sepals glabrous; petals ± 7 mm long; receptacle almost glabrous among the achenes (although pilose in staminal zone), lateral faces of achenes smooth or irregularly undulateRanunculus inundatus
Sepals pilose; petals more than 7 mm long; receptacle pilose throughout, achenes with transverse ridges
                       Back to 10
13Achenes mostly 1.0–1.6 mm long (excluding beak), the margin not thickenedRanunculus meristus
Achenes 1.8–2.5 mm long (excluding beak), the margin conspicuously thickened
                       Back to 12
Ranunculus undosus
14Leaves simple, plant glabrous or nearly soRanunculus flammula
Leaves palmately lobed or divided, or if simple then plant pilose or hirsute
                       Back to 4
15Achenes strongly compressed, stems usually branching16
Achenes not strongly compressed, stems branched or simple
                       Back to 14
16Achenes 6–8 mm long (excluding beak) with long slender spines to 3 mmRanunculus arvensis
Achenes 3–4.5 mm long (excluding beak), lacking spines
                       Back to 15
Ranunculus clivicola
17Petals less than 4 mm wide18
Petals more than 4 mm wide
                       Back to 15
18Petals golden-yellow, 4–9 mm longRanunculus pimpinellifolius
Petals pale yellow, 1.5–2.5 mm long
                       Back to 17
Ranunculus productus
19Achenes almost globoseRanunculus pachycarpus
Achenes lens-shaped, body of achene not almost as thick as long
                       Back to 17
20Leaves simple, entire or with 1 tooth on each side32
Leaves dissected or lobed or with more than 3 teeth
                       Back to 19
21Leaves divided into subterete or linear-lanceolate segments or lobes; petals often more than 522
Leaves less divided or with broad segments or lobes; petals mostly 5
                       Back to 20
22Petals with 2 or 3 nectaries (rarely more) in shallow pits with thickened margins; leaves 2–3 times pinnately divided into linear subterete segmentsRanunculus gunnianus
Petals with 1 nectary with a triangular or oblong lobe; leaves once or several times ternately divided with linear-lanceolate lobes and teeth
                       Back to 21
Ranunculus dissectifolius
23Nectary lobes present24
Nectaries in small pits without distinct lobes
                       Back to 21
Ranunculus niphophilus
24Nectary lobes broadest in upper part, usually obovate or cuneate, broader than long; flowering stems mostly branched with 2–10 flowersRanunculus lappaceus
Nectary lobes not broadest in upper part, oblong or triangular; flowering stems usually unbranched
                       Back to 23
Ranunculus graniticola
25Flowers more than 5 mm diam26
Flowers less than 5 mm diam
                       Back to 4
26Achenes with spines or tubercles27
Achenes lacking spines or tubercles
                       Back to 25
27Achenes 7–8 mm long with stout tapering spines on the lateral faces and a stout slightly recurved beak c. 3–4 mm longRanunculus muricatus
Achenes 2–3 mm long with short blunt tubercles on the lateral faces, and a short beak
                       Back to 26
Ranunculus trilobus
28Achenes less than 1 mm long, with a minute beak, numerous (40–300), in an elongated headRanunculus sceleratus
Achenes more than 1 mm long, with a distinct beak, few to many in a globose head
                       Back to 26
29Achene beak less than 1 mm long, strongly recurvedRanunculus plebeius
Achene beak more than 1 mm long, straight or arching with a recurved tip
                       Back to 28
Ranunculus scapiger
30Achenes 2–4 mm long, very thin (laterally compressed), usually twisted when mature, with a thickened marginRanunculus pentandrus
Achenes 1.5–2 mm long, not strongly compressed or twisted
                       Back to 25
31Achenes smooth and glabrous or with numerous small tubercles bearing hairs longer than the distance between the tuberclesRanunculus pumilio
Achenes with prominent conical tubercles bearing recurved hairs shorter than the distance between tubercles
                       Back to 30
Ranunculus sessiliflorus
32Leaves with petiole longer than laminaRanunculus muelleri
Leaves with petiole shorter than lamina
                       Back to 20
Ranunculus acrophilus

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