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A family of dicotyledonous herbs in the order Ranunculales distinguished by alternate leaves with net venation, two or more distinct carpels, and numerous stamens.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(buttercup), a family of dicotyledonous plants, including herbs and, more rarely, subshrubs, shrubs, and lianas. The leaves are simple, often dissected, and divided or lobed. The flowers are generally bisexual. The simple or double perianth is either spiral or cyclic. The fruits are usually multiple fruits or multiple nuts.

There are approximately 50 genera, embracing 2,000 species, distributed primarily in the temperate and cold belts of both hemispheres. About 35 genera (more than 500 species) are found in the USSR, including Ranunculus and Delphinium, which both have a large number of species. Many species contain toxic alkaloids or glycosides. The Ranunculaceae also include many medicinal plants (Adonis, Helleborus) and ornamentals (Aconitum, Delphinium, Caltha, Aquilegia, Clematis). Many species bloom in early spring (Anemone, Hepatica). Some genera of Ranunculaceae, especially Paeonia, are often classified in a separate family.


Flora SSSR, vol. 7. Moscow-Leningrad, 1937.
Takhtadzhian, A. L. Sistema i filogeniia tsvetkovykh rastenii. MoscowLeningrad, 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.