Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Herbs, annual or perennial, erect or stoloniferous, rarely shrubs or woody climbers. Leaves basal and cauline, alternate, rarely opposite, entire or palmately, ternately or Pinnately dissected, sometimes compound, always exstipulate or petioles sometimes broadened into stipule-like auricles at base, very rarely free; leaf-bases often sheathing. Inflorescence 1-flowered, cymose, racemose, thyrsoid or paniculate. Flowers actinomorphic or zygomorphic, bisexual or unisexual; plants monoecious, polygamous or very rarely dioecious; all parts hypogynous. Sepals (3-) 5 (-8), mostly 5, free, sometimes showy and petaloid; uppermost sepal sometimes concave, boat-shaped or helmet-shaped, rarely spurred. Petals 5 (0 - 12) or more, free, in some funnel-shaped or sometimes spurred and often with subbasal nectar glands, sometimes with honey-scales or honey-leaves between perianth and stamens. Stamens usually many, rarely 8 - 20, spirally arranged, free, rarely outer staminodal and petaloid; anthers small, basifixed, extrorse or introrse, dehiscing longitudinally by slits. Carpels 1-many, spirally arranged, rarely few and whorled, free or sometimes shortly connate at base, unilocular; style short or elongated; stigma simple, sessile or decurrent ventrally on style; ovule solitary and basal, or few to many and marginal, erect or pendulous, anatropous, 1- to 2-tegmic, crassinucellar or tenuinucellar. Fruits aggregate of 1-seeded indehiscent achenes or few to many-seeded follicles, dehiscing along dorsal suture, rarely capsule-like (Nigella) or a berry(Actaea). Seeds small; endosperm copious, fleshy; embryo minute, rounded 'or linear; cotyledons undifferentiated.

Mostly in N. temperate and alpine regions, some in subtropical or tropical areas; ca 50 genera and 1900 species, 28 genera and 191 species in India.

Literature. BRUEHL, P. (1892) Die Ranunrulaceis Indicis disputationes. J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal n.s. 2. 61: 270 - 324. DE CANDOLLE, A. P. (1824) Monographie: Memoire sur la familie des Ranunculacees. Prodr. Syst. Nat. 1: 2.66. HANDEL-MAZZETTI, H. (1939) Plantae Sinensis 33: Ranunculaceae. Acta Hort. Gotob. 13: 37 - 219. LAUENER, L A. (1978 & 1980) The typification of Royle's Ranunculaceae. Notes R. Bot. Gard. Edinb. 36: 127 - 137 & 38: 125 - 128. OKADA, H. & M. TAMURA (1979) Karyomorphology and relationship on the Ranunculaceae. J. Jap. Bot. 54: 65 - 77. SANIlSUK, T. (1979) A polynological study of the tribe Ranunculeae (Ranunculaceae). Opeca Bot. 48: 1 - 74. ZlMAN, S. N. & C. S. KEENER (1989) A geographical analysis of the family Ranunculaceae. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 76: 1012 - 1049.


1 a. Plants woody, erect or climbing; leaves opposite 2
b. Plants herbaceous, erect, rarely climbing or creeping; leaves in basal rosette and/or alternate along the stem 3
2 a. Plants climbing by means of twining petioles; terminal leaflet normal; petals absent 11. Clematis
b. Plants climbing by means of tendrils; terminal leaflet modified into tendril; petals present 19. Naravelia
3a. Carpels 1-ovuled; fruits achenes 4
b. Carpels many-ovuled; fruits follicular or capsular (berries in Actaea) 14
4 a. Sepals petaloid; petals absent 5
b. Sepals and petals differentiated, both present 8
5a. Leaves cauline, compound; flowers in racemes or panicles; sepals not prominently coloured, small 27. Thalictrum
b. Leaves all radical, lobed or dissected; flowers on seapes; sepals brightly coloured, large 6
6a. Achenes with long feathery styles 24. Pulsatilla
b. Achenes with short styles, usually embedded in woolly hairs 7
7 a. Seape with an involucre of 3 leafy bracts close to the flower 17. Hepatica
b. Seape with an involucre of 2 - 3 leafy bracts at a distance from flower 4. Anemone
8 a. Herbs with stems, annual or perennial, mostly terrestrial plants 9
b. Herbs, stemless, perennial, terrestrial 11
9 a. Petals 5 - 24, yeUow or red; glands absent; terrestrial plants 3. Adonis
b. Petals usually 5, yellow, white in some; glands present; mostly terrestrial, a few aquatic 10
10a. Achenes gibbous with empty pouches on either side and a long terminal beak, 2 - 3 times as long as the achene 9. Ceratocephalus
b. Achenes not as above 25. Ranunculus
11a. Sepals deciduous or withering early 12
b. Sepals persistent, enlarged after flowering 13
12a. Petals white or with pinkish tinge 7. Callianthemum
b. Petals yellow 16. Halerpestes
13a. Flowers bisexual; petals 10 - 15 21. Oxygraphis
b. Flowers unisexual; petals 5 23. Paroxygraphis
14a. Carpels connate towards the apex; fruits capsular 20. Nigella
b. Carpels not connate towards apex; fruits follicular or a beny (in Actaea) 14
15a. Sepals petaloid; petals absent 16
b. Sepals and petals differentiated, both present 17
16a. Leaves reniform, palmatisect; torus elongating after flowering 6. Calathodes
b. Leaves reniform, simple, entire; torus not elongating after flowering 8. Caltha
17a. Flowers irregular (zygomorphic) 18
b. Flowers regular (actinomorphic) 20
18a. Postcrior sepal helmet-shaped, vaulted; petals 2 1. Aconitum
b. Psoterior sepal spurred; petals 1 or 4 19
19a. Spur only from the posterior sepal; petal 1, upper 2 petals coalesced to form a nectary; lower petals absent; follicles solitary 12. Consolida
b. Spur from the posterior sepal and upper 2 petals; petals 4; spurs of upper 2 petals included in sepal spur; lower petals present; follicles 3 - 5 14. Delphinium
20a. Fruit a solitary berry 2. Actaea
b. Fruits of follicles 21
21a. Flowers with spurs 5. Aquilegia
b. Flowers without spurs 22
22a. Inflorescence racemose; racemes simple or paniculate 23
b. Inflorescence a cyme, dichasium or flowers solitary 24
23a. Inflorescence a simple raceme; petals without glandular discs at apex 26. Souliea
b. Inflorescence a panicle of racemes; petals with 2 rounded glandular discs at apex 10. Cimicifuga
24a. Carpels long-stalked 13. Coptis
b. Carpels sessile 25
25a. Flowers yellow 28. Trollius
b. Flowers white or pale yellow 26
26a. Carpels constantly 2, connate at base, divaricate above 15. Dichrocarpum
b. Carpels 1 - 10, free 27
27a. Stems simple, scapose; flowers solitary 22. Paraquilegia
b. Stems branched, leafy; flowers in dichasia 18. Isopyrum

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