Mt Cook 'lily' Ranunculus lyallii, photographed by Andy Reisinger.

Belongs within: Ranunculaceae.

Ranunculus, the buttercups, is a cosmopolitan genus of about 300 species. The majority of species have yellow flowers (hence the vernacular name) but some have white, orange or red flowers. The genus name means 'little frog', and refers to the preference of many species for damp habitats; some species even grow aquatically. A number of species have become spread widely around the world, and may be considered a pest for poisoning livestock.

Characters (from A. T. Whittemore): Herbs, annual or perennial, from tuberous roots, caudices, rhizomes, stolons, or bulbous stem bases. Leaves basal, cauline, or both, simple, variously lobed or parted, or compound, all petiolate or distal leaves sessile; cauline leaves alternate (rarely a distal pair opposite). Leaf blade reniform to linear, margins entire, crenate, or toothed. Inflorescences terminal or axillary, 2-50-flowered cymes to 25 cm or solitary flowers; bracts present or absent, small or large and leaflike, not forming involucre. Flowers bisexual, radially symmetric; sepals sometimes persistent in fruit, 3-5(-6), green or sometimes purple, yellow, or white, plane (base saccate in R. ficaria), oblong to elliptic, ovate, or lanceolate, 1-15 mm; petals 0-22(-150), distinct, yellow, rarely white, red, or green, plane, linear to orbiculate, 1-26 mm; nectary present, usually covered by scale; stamens (5-)10-many; filaments filiform; staminodes absent between stamens and pistils; pistils 4-250, simple; ovule 1 per ovary; style present or absent. Fruits achenes, rarely utricles, aggregate, sessile, discoid, lenticular, globose, obovoid, or cylindric, sides sometimes veined; beak present or absent, terminal, straight or curved, 0-4.5 mm. x = 7, 8.

<==Ranunculus [incl. Batrachium, Casalea] H98
    |--R. acaulis An27
    |--R. aconitifolius H98
    |--R. acris D37
    |--R. adoneus GS99
    |--R. adoxifolius O88
    |--R. aquatilis Al27
    |--R. argoviensis H98
    |--R. arvensis BO08
    |--R. auricomus H98
    |--R. brotherusii O88
    |    |--R. b. var. brotherusii O88
    |    `--R. b. var. tanguticus O88
    |--R. buchanani T27
    |--R. bulbosus C55b
    |--R. bullatus PT98
    |--R. cadmicus D30
    |--R. cassubicifolius H98
    |--R. cassubicus H98
    |--R. chilensis D03
    |--R. chius PT98
    |--R. chordorhizos W27
    |--R. colonorum GK00
    |--R. crithmifolius W27
    |--R. diffusus O88
    |--R. enysii Al27
    |--R. fallax H98
    |--R. ferreri GM-C02
    |--R. ficaria Y98
    |--R. flammula C55a
    |--R. garganicus GR98
    |--R. glacialis C55a
    |--R. godleyanus An27
    |--R. gracilipes An27
    |--R. graniticola KC83
    |--R. haastii W27
    |--R. hirtellus O88
    |--R. hirtus An27
    |--R. hybridus C55a
    |--R. insignis W91
    |--R. kirkii An27
    |--R. kuepferi H98
    |--R. lappaceus KC83
    |--R. lingua C55a
    |--R. lobatus O88
    |--R. lowii P88
    |--R. lyallii T27
    |--R. macropus An27
    |--R. matthewsii T27
    |--R. melzeri H98
    |--R. membranifolius W91
    |--R. millefoliatus GR98
    |--R. monophyllus H98
    |--R. monroi Al27
    |    |--R. m. f. monroi Al27
    |    `--R. m. f. dentatus Al27
    |--R. montanus H98
    |--R. multiscapus An27
    |--R. munroanus O88
    |--R. muricatus GK00
    |--R. nivicola T27
    |--R. obtusatus D03
    |--R. oreionannos O88
    |--R. paludosus PT98
    |--R. parnassiifolius H98
    |--R. paucifolius O81
    |--R. peduncularis D03
    |--R. pegaeus O88
    |--R. philonotis C55a
    |--R. phthora C55a
    |--R. platanifolius H98
    |--R. polyanthemos H98
    |--R. pseudopygmaeus O88
    |--R. pulchellus O88
    |    |--R. p. var. pulchellus O88
    |    |--R. p. var. potaninii O88
    |    |--R. p. var. sericeus O88
    |    `--R. p. var. stracheyanus O88
    |--R. pyrenaeus C55a
    |--R. recurvatus J87
    |--R. repens C55a
    |--R. reptans C55a
    |--R. rivularis An27
    |--R. rutaefolius C55a
    |--R. scleratus VB02
    |--R. seguieri C55a
    |--R. sericophyllus CA27
    |--R. sessiliflorus CA27
    |--R. simpsonii Cockayne & Allan 1927 CA27
    |--R. testiculatus CL86
    |--R. thora C55a
    |--R. trichophyllus Chaix ex Vill. 1786 CD07
    |    |--R. t. var. trichophyllus O88
    |    `--R. t. var. glaber O88
    |--R. tricuspis O88
    |--R. udicola H98
    |--R. verticillatus W91
    `--R. villarsii C55a

*Type species of generic name indicated


[Al27] Allan, H. H. 1927. The vegetation of Mount Peel, Canterbury, New Zealand. Part 2. – The grassland and other herbaceous communities. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 57: 73-89.

[An27] Andersen, J. C. 1927. Popular names of New Zealand plants. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 57: 905-977.

[BO08] Bönsel, D., I. Ottich, A. Malten & G. Zizka. 2008. An updated list of the vascular plants of Frankfurt am Main (Pteridophyta & Spermatophyta). Senckenbergiana Biologica 88 (1): 111-121.

[C55a] Candolle, A. de. 1855a. Géographie Botanique Raisonée: Ou exposition des faits principaux et des lois concernant la distribution géographique des plantes de l’époque actuelle vol. 1. Librairie de Victor Masson: Paris.

[C55b] Candolle, A. de. 1855b. Géographie Botanique Raisonée: Ou exposition des faits principaux et des lois concernant la distribution géographique des plantes de l’époque actuelle vol. 2. Librairie de Victor Masson: Paris.

[CD07] Cantino, P. D., J. A. Doyle, S. W. Graham, W. S. Judd, R. G. Olmstead, D. E. Soltis, P. S. Soltis & M. J. Donoghue. 2007. Towards a phylogenetic nomenclature of Tracheophyta. Taxon 56 (3): E1-E44.

[CA27] Cockayne, L., & H. H. Allan. 1927. Notes on New Zealand floristic botany, including descriptions of new species, &c. (No. 5). Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 57: 48-72.

[CL86] Collins, E. I. & R. W. Lichvar. 1986. Vegetation inventory of current and historic black-footed ferret habitat in Wyoming. Great Basin Naturalist Memoirs 8: 85-93.

[D37] Dobzhansky, T. 1937. Genetics and the Origin of Species. Columbia University Press: New York.

[D30] Druce, G. C. 1930. Account of a botanical tour in Cyprus. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London 141: 50-52.

[D03] Dusén, P. 1903. The vegetation of western Patagonia. In Reports of the Princeton University Expeditions to Patagonia, 1896-1899, vol. 8 – Botany (W. B. Scott, ed.) pp. 1-34. The University: Princeton (New Jersey).

[GS99] Galen, C. & M. L. Stanton. 1999. Seedling establishment in alpine buttercups under experimental manipulations of growing-season length. Ecology 80: 2033-2044.

[GK00] Gibson, N., & G. J. Keighery. 2000. Flora and vegetation of the Byenup-Muir reserve system, south-west Western Australia. CALMScience 3 (3): 323-402.

[GM-C02] Gomez, B., C. Martín-Closas, G. Barale, N. Solé de Porta, F. Thévenard & G. Guignard. 2002. Frenelopsis (Coniferales: Cheirolepidiaceae) and related male organ genera from the Lower Cretaceous of Spain. Palaeontology 45 (5): 997-1036.

[GR98] Greuter, W., & T. Raus (eds). 1998. Med-Checklist Notulae, 17. Willdenowia 28: 163-174.

[H98] Hörandl, E. 1998. Species concepts in agamic complexes: applications in the Ranunculus auricomus complex and general perspectives. Folia Geobotanica 33: 335-348.

[J87] Judd, W. S. 1987. Floristic study of Morne La Visite and Pic Macaya National Parks, Haiti. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum – Biological Sciences 32 (1): 1-136.

[KC83] Körner, C., & P. Cochrane. 1983. Influence of plant physiognomy on leaf temperature on clear midsummer days in the Snowy Mountains, south-eastern Australia. Acta Œcologica Œcologiae Plantae 4 (2): 117-124.

[O81] O'Brien, C. O. 1981. A. A. Book of New Zealand Wildlife: A guide to the native and introduced animals of New Zealand. Lansdowne Press: Auckland.

[O88] Ohba, H. 1988. The alpine flora of the Nepal Himalayas: An introductory note. In The Himalayan Plants vol. 1 (H. Ohba & S. B. Malla, eds) The University Museum, University of Tokyo, Bulletin 31: 19-46.

[PT98] Panitsa, M., & D. Tzanoudakis. 1998. Contribution to the study of the Greek flora: Flora and vegetation of the E Aegean islands Agathonisi and Pharmakonisi. Willdenowia 28: 95-116.

[P88] Polunin, I. 1988. Plants and Flowers of Malaysia. Times Editions: Singapore.

[T27] Thomson, G. M. 1927. The pollination of New Zealand flowers by birds and insects. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 57: 106-125.

[VB02] Vijay, S. K., & T. N. Bhardwaja. 2002. Vegetation and phenodynamics of wetlands of central Rajasthan. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 99 (3): 573-581.

[W27] Wall, A. 1927. Some problems of distribution of indigenuous plants in New Zealand. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 57: 94-105.

[W91] Williams, P. A. 1991. Subalpine and alpine vegetation of granite ranges in western Nelson, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 29: 317-330.

[Y98] Yannitsaros, A. 1998. Additions to the flora of Kithira (Greece) I. Willdenowia 28: 77-94.

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