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Family Ranunculaceae is also known as the Buttercup Family because of the amphibious habit of several species. The family comprises herbs which is said to be perennial or annual, shrubs or subshrubs or herbaceous or woody vines. Being known for its amphibious habit, the family can be terrestrial or aquatic. (Simpson) There are about 60 genera in this family having 2500 identified species (Mao). Several genera includes, Delphidium, Anemone, Aconitum, Clematis, Ranunculus, Thalictrum, , Delphidium, Helleborus, Eranthis, and Trollius.

Some species in the family that are poisonous includes Aconitum. Others produce protoanemonin which is a strong irritant. Thus they are avoided by many livestock because they produce severe irritation in the mouth and digestive system (Crosby, 2007). Almost all species in the family are said to be herbaceous where Clemantis is the only woody species. Plant Systematics and Taxonomy The important taxonomic key Family Ranunculaceae is based on the species leaf, flower, stem, and seeds. Few of the representative genera of this group include Anemone, Clemantis, Ranunculus, Delphidium, and Myosurus.

Generally, Family Ranunculaceae is often characterized by having leaves which are typically arranged in alternate, rarely opposite or whorled, simple or variously compound, palmately nerved, rarely penninerved, and with or without stipules (Wang et. al. , 2001). The inflorescence or floral arrangement is a simple or compound monochasium, dichasium, simple or compound raceme, or may be solitary. Flowers are bisexual, sometimes unisexual, actinomorphic, rarely zygomorphic, hypogynous where the receptacle is somewhat elongated (Simpson).

The calyx may be 3–6 or more, aposepalous in nature, petaloid or sepaloid, imbricate or sometimes valvate in bud. The corolla is apopetalous with few to infinitely many petals which rarely occurs to zero and usually with nectaries. The male reproductive structure of the flower which is the stamen is usually numerous, rarely few, and free. The filaments are linear or filiform. Anther is said to be latrorse, introrse, or extrorse. Those stamens which become sterile are called staminodes. The female reproductive structure or the carpel is numerous or few, rarely 1, free, and rarely connate to various degrees.

The ovary consists of 1 to many ovules. The types of placentations are marginal, apical, or basal, and axile in the syncarpous taxa (Simpson). The fruit is aggregate of follicles, achenes, or rarely capsules or berries and the seeds are small, with abundant endosperm and minute embryo. (Simpson) The genus Anemone consists of 120 – 150 species. The genus is distinctive for its flower having no petals. Leaves are modified (i. e. in bracts) which forms an involucre. The herbs are perennial and rhizomatous. The fruit is dry and one-seeded. And the distribution is widespread in moist locations. (Arseneult, 2008)

Kingdom: Plantae Division: Magnoliophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Order: Ranunculales Family: Ranunculaceae Genus: Anemone Species: Anemone nutantiflora The species representative which is Anemone nutantiflora are often found in bamboo thickets, however the flowers are unknown, but the fruiting pedicels are pendent. (Wang et. al. , 2001) Clematis is known for its climbing stem (Lehman et. al) which is woody or herbaceous and perennial, shrubs and subshrubs are rarely erect, and sometimes grow as perennial herbs. Leaves are oppositely arranged, rarely fascicled or alternate, and rarely simple or compound.

The leaf or leaflet blades are palmately veined. Floral arrangement is often cymose, sometimes solitary, and usually pedunculate, with 2-bracteate. Flowers may be bisexual or unisexual. The sepals are 4 or 5(–8), which may occur in bud as petaloid, spreading, ascending, or erect, and usually valvate. There are no petals instead modified leaves (i. e. bracts) are present. Stamens are numerous, sometimes the outer ones are sterile and becoming linear or petaloid staminodes. In addition, anthers are introrse. Carpels are also numerous, typically pubescent or villous and the ovaries are single ovuled.

Moreover, the ovule is pendulous. The style is elongated after anthesis, and rarely few are slightly or not elongated. Achenes usually may or may not be bilaterally compressed and persistent style is usually strongly elongated, plumose. (Wang and Bartholomew, 2001) Kingdom: Plantae Division: Magnoliophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Order: Ranunculales Family: Ranunculaceae Genus: Clematis Species: Clematis drummondii The species Clematis drummondii grows as a subshrubby vine characterized of having pinnate leaves of 1-3. 5 cm long, and with variously lobed or toothed margins.

The flowers are loosely clustering the sexes on separate plants. The tepals which is 6-10 mm long, is greenish white in color and often tinged with purple. The fruits are long-tailed and feathery. (Simpson) Ranunculus has lower leaves are petiolate. Petiole expanded into sheath at the base. The leaf blade is simple, palmately divided in 1- or 2- ternate or, rarely, pinnate. Inflorescence may be solitary terminal or leaf-opposed flower, or a simple or compound monochasium. Flowers are bisexual, and actinomorphic. Receptacle may or may not be convex, sometimes forming androgynophore in Ranunculus angustisepalus.

Sepals are (3–)5(–7), usually greenish, occasionally dark reddish or purple, very rarely abaxial sepal is appendiculate (R. angustisepalus), deciduous or, rarely, persistent. Petals are (3–)5(–10), ranging from yellow, rarely white, exceptionally red (not present in China), base is shortly clawed, with foveolate adaxial nectary pit which is sometimes covered by a scale. Stamens are numerous or rarely few. Carpels are also numerous, sessile or rarely stalked (R. podocarpus); ovule 1 per carpel, basal; style is usually present, with adaxial stigmatic tissue, sometimes absent; distinct stigma usually absent.

Fruit is aggregated, globose, ovoid, or cylindric, with numerous achenes. Achenes are ovoid, obovoid in shape, or slightly to strongly bilaterally compressed, smooth, sometimes tuberculate or spiny, sometimes marginate or winged along sutures, usually greenish, black in R. melanogynus. Seeds have a copious amount of endosperm and small embryo. (Wang and Gilbert, 2007) Kingdom: Plantae Division: Magnoliophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Order: Ranunculales Family: Ranunculaceae Genus: Ranunculus Species: Ranunculus angustisepalus Delphinium is known to be distinct for herbs that are usually perennial, rarely biennial or annual.

Stem(s) are erect or ascending, or much reduced. Leaves are characterized to be basal and/or cauline. The leaf blade is palmately divided. Inflorescence is racemose or corymbose, sometimes only single-lowered. Pedicels are usually 2-bracteolate. Flowers are bisexual, and zygomorphic. Sepals occur in 5, petaloid and variously colored, where the upper one is purred. Petals are usually 2, sessile, free, and spurred; spur nectariferous. Staminodes are 2 in number, each usually with a slender claw and an expanded limb. Stamens are numerous; filaments are lanceolate to linear, 1-veined; anthers ellipsoid. Carpels 3(or 4–10); ovaries many ovulate.

Styles have no distinct stigma. Follicles are narrowly oblong, and reticulate. Seeds are obpyramidal, tetrahedral, or obovoid, narrowly winged along angles, transversely rugose, squamulose winged, lamellate, or concave reticulate. (Wang and Warnock, 2001) Kingdom: Plantae Division: Magnoliophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Order: Ranunculales Family: Ranunculaceae Genus: Delphidium Species: Delphinium carolinianum Myosurus minimus is distinct for it a hairless annual herb. The leaves are said to be linear and fleshy, all arising from the base of the plant and measuring up to 4 cm long. The flowering stems are numerous and between 1.

5-6 cm tall. The flowers are very small and greenish-yellow in color. There are 5 sepals that are between 3-5 mm long. The petals are very small and greenish in color. The fruit consists of many small fruitlets which are arranged along the top section of the flowering stems in a dense and slender spike, the whole thing ripens to a reddish-brown and resemble a mouse’s tail. The individual fruits are dry, leathery and slightly flattened with a short, erect beak (description from Cunningham 1992, Curtis & Morris 1975). Kingdom: Plantae Division: Magnoliophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Order: Ranunculales Family: Ranunculaceae

Genus: Myosurus Species: Myosurus minimus Morphology and Physiology Family Ranunculaceae are mostly herbs, shrubs (Xanthorhiza), or lianas (Clematis). Most of the plants are non-laticiferous and without colored juice and essential oils. Plants within this group grow from annual to perennial with a basal aggregation of leaves, or with neither basal nor terminal aggregations of leaves. (Watson and Dallwitz, 1992) Most often this group of plants is rhizomatous or tuberous because they often thrive in cold or temperate region where there is physiological drought. Plants under family Ranunculaceae are self supporting, or climbing.

They are water loving or hydrophytic to mesophytic which is manifested in their habitat. Leaves of aquatics species may be emergent, submerged, or submerged and floating. (Watson and Dallwitz, 1992) These species are known to be usually heterophyllous when they are hydrophytic, or not heterophyllous. Leaves can be alternate, or opposite (i. e. common in Clematis). Leaf arrangement is usually in spiral and the leaves are petiolate which also exhibit sheathing in monocot species. Hydathodes may be present in aquatic species or may be absent. Minor leaf veins without phloem transfer cells are common in genera such as Helleborus, Ranunculus.

(Watson and Dallwitz, 1992) Cork cambium may be present, or absent. Nodes are rarely unilacunar, or tri-lacunar to multilacunar. Primary vascular tissue comprises a ring of bundles, or in two or more rings of bundles, or in scattered bundlesi in centrifugal orientation. Secondary thickenings are commonly absent because most of these species are herbaceous or developing from a conventional cambial ring. Xylem develops into fiber tracheids and also comprises libriform fiber. Xylem can be without libriform fibers. Vessel elements are also be present. Vessel end-walls are usually simple and wood are partially storied (VP), or not storied.

Sieve-tube plastids are of S-type. (Watson and Dallwitz, 1992) The flowers of Family Ranunculaceae are commonly solitary and pedunculate. Flowers are aggregated in cymes, or in racemes, or in panicles, where the terminal inflorescence unit is cymose. Inflorescences are distinguished as scapiflorous, or not scapiflorous, terminal, or axillary, and various, but determinate. Flowers ranges from small to medium-sized and vary from regular or somewhat irregular to very irregular like Aconitum. Moreover flowers can be cyclic like Aquilegia, or partially acyclic, and acyclic.

(Watson and Dallwitz, 1992) Embryo-sac development may be Polygonum-type, or Allium-type. Polar nuclei are fusing prior to fertilization where the antipodal cells formed are 3 and sometimes multinucleated and rarely proliferating. Synergids are pear-shaped, or hooked and sometimes with filiform apparatus. Endosperm formation is nuclear. Embryogeny is onagrad (or undifferentiated). (Watson and Dallwitz, 1992) The fruit of this family is usually non-fleshy and usually an aggregate. The fruiting carpel is dehiscent or indehiscent also a follicle, or an achene, or baccate like (Actaea).

Seeds are largely endospermic where endosperm is oily. Moreover, seeds lack amyloid or waxy due to the oily endosperm. Embryo is usually undeveloped at the time when seeds are released to weakly differentiated or well differentiated. Most of the species are dicots and rarely monocots. Dicot species are often connate. The Embryo is achlorophyllous and straight. Germination type phanerocotylar, or cryptocotylar. (Watson and Dallwitz, 1992) Cynogenic constituents are tyrosine-derived (including triglochinin). Alkaloids is present mostly in Aconitum, and absent in some other species.

Berberine is present in the rhizome of Coptis, and may be absent in some species or other genera. Iridoids are not detected in some. Proanthocyanidins are usually absent however it is seen in Clematis. Cyanidin are also present likewise flavonols which are common. Kaempferol, quercetin, or both kaempferol and quercetin may also be found. Ellagic acid is absent in 13 species and 9 genera. (Watson and Dallwitz, 1992) Saponins or sapogenins may or may not be present in some species. No Aluminium accumulation is detected. Most plants are C3 plants which are exhibited by Anemone, Clematis, Delphinium, Ranunculus.

(Watson and Dallwitz, 1992) Distribution and Habitat Family Ranunculaceae are often distributed in regions where the environment is frigid and moist (Watson and Dallwitz, 1992). Distinctive because it is amphibious species occurs from terrestrial to aquatic. It is distributed in the tropical region however the species are concentrated in the North temperate, particularly in East Asia. () Anemone is often seen in chalky pastures. Species found in wet marshes are Caltha palustris commonly known as marsh marigold. Delphinium is cultivated in the terrestrial areas and is native to the Northern hemisphere.

Likewise, Ranunculus is also cultivated like Delphinium, it is widespread on all continents except Antarctica (Redmond, 2007). Clematis is widespread throughout the world are often grown in gardens as fence they are also common in pasture woods. (Wang, 2001) Myosurus is internationally distributed from Europe, North Africa and Southwest Asia. It is also found in Australia, and also in Tasmania. This genus has been found to thrive in small hillside. A recent survey suggests that its representative species Myosurus minimus was seen from a dolerite rockplate just north of Penstock Lagoon (A. North pers. comm. ). () Reproduction and Lifecycle

Ranunculaceae is characterized by being hermaphrodite, or dioecious. Floral nectaries are present in most of the species but are or absent in some genera like Anemone, Clematis, Thalictrum. Secretions of nectar come from the perianth or from the androecium (i. e. from the bases of the petals, considered staminodial in origin). Pollination entomophilous, where flowers attract insects by either nectar or pollen or anemophilous or wind pollination like the genus Thalictrum. (Watson and Dallwitz, 1992) The sexual life cycle of vascular plants is more complex than aminals. Multicellular haploid and diploid generations alternate.

Diploid sporophytes produce haploid spores through meiosis, and those spores develop into multicellular haploid gametophytes. (Holsinger, 2000) In gymnosperms and angiosperms the female gametophyte or the megaspore is in the ovule. The male gametophyte, the microspore pollen leaves the structure in which it was produced. A series of meiosis and mitosis yields haploid egg and sperm, and these unite to form diploid zygotes from which new sporophytes develop. (Holsinger, 2000) Asexual reproduction in plants occurs when offspring are produced through modifications of the sexual life cycle that do not include meiosis and syngamy.

(Holsinger, 2000) Vascular plants can reproduce asexually by, budding, branching, or tillering or by producing spores or seed genetically identical to the sporophytes that produced them (agamospermy in seed plants). Vegetative reproduction is extremely common in perennial plants, most especially in grasses and aquatic plants. (Holsinger, 2000) Agamospermy is less widespread than vegetative reproduction, although it has been reported from at least 30 families of flowering plants and it is especially common in grasses and roses. Agamospermous species are often polyploids.

They are the resultant of hybridization between reproductively incompatible progenitors. When they have arisen many times, the pattern of variation makes it difficult to identify distinct lineages that can be called species. (Holsinger, 2000) Ecology One of the primary reasons why Family Ranunculaceae is said to be amphibious is because it exhibits a wide tolerance to a series of environmental conditions. Ranunculus repens, one of the representative species of Family Ranunculaceae has a wide geographical distribution and also has broad ecological amplitude.

This species may have the ability to exhibit a broad tolerance to different environmental conditions. Alternatively, specialized populations may evolve in particular environments. This species is known to thrive also in turloughs. Species of genus Ranunculus that occur in turlough basins are exposed to extremely different environmental conditions because of the unpredictable fluctuations in water depth. (Lynn and Waldren, 2001) Since the environment is a key factor in determining population differentiation the idea suggests that there is the potential for the evolutionary divergence of turlough plant populations.

The populations occurring within the influence of the groundwater are morphologically distinct from those in the surrounding pastureland. In the species Ranunculus repens the most distinctive feature is the leaf morphology, which is glabrous and more highly-dissected than the typical form. Narrower, more dissected leaves are a characteristic which suggests a series of submergence of macrophytes as higher surface to volume ratios counteract some of the diffusive limitations on aquatic photosynthesis. (Lynn and Waldren, 2001)

Some species of genus Myosurus are said to be therophytes. Therophytes are annual species, which complete a life history from seed to seed during a favorable season of the year. This is said to be rare in the New Zealand flora. (Rogers et. al. , 2002) Myosurus is mostly related to periodically wet depressions and flushes where these depressions and flushes become parched silty pavements in summer. These winter-and-spring-wet depressions and flushes are subjected many other wetland systems with high water tables.

The planar schist landforms of Otago, with their horizontal and massive bedrock overlain by poorly drained, silty soils in a semi-arid climate, promote seasonal pools and flushes are occupied by Myosurus (Rogers et. al. , 2002). This genus thrives in salty soils because surface salts accumulate with the alternate wetting and drying. The present habitats (seasonal ponds and flushes and saline patches) of the genus suggests the plants that occurred in these wetlands have the ability to tolerate the necessities of the environment in topographic depressions, which was characterized by alternating periods of wet and dry soil.

( Rogers et. al. , 2002) Another species representative of Family Ranunculaceae is Anemone nemorosa. This species is a long-lived perennial, which is a common, often dominant understorey spring herb of European deciduous woodland, although it also occurs in North America and Eastern Asia. In a study made in this species it was noted that production of new ramets is mainly by clonal propagation via branched rhizomes, which grow at a soil depth of about 5 cm. due to the fragility and senescence of the rhizomes, the genets become fragmented.

Moreover, individual genets may exist for several hundred years. (Stehlik and Holderegger, 2000) Literature Cited Arseneault, C. (2008). “Anemone”. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Foundation of Canada: 17Aprill 2008 <http://www. thecanadianencyclopedia. com/index. cfm? PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0000208>. (2007) “Clematis. ” Microsoft® Student 2008 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2007. Crosby, M. R. (2007) “Buttercup. ” Microsoft® Student 2008 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation. (2007) “Delphinium. ” Microsoft® Student 2008 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation.

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