Pulsatilla(redirected from pulsatillas)
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a genus of perennial herbs of the family Ranunculaceae. The radical leaves are petiolate and pinnately or palmately dissected; the cauline leaves are usually sessile, adnate at the base, and somewhat dissected. The flowers are solitary, rather large, and usually violet. The fruit contains achenes with long, plumose tails. There are approximately 35 species of Pulsatilla, distributed in the temperate, subtropical, and cold zones of the northern hemisphere. Approximately 30 species are found in the USSR. P. patens grows in the European USSR and Western Siberia, and P. pratensis is encountered in the western European USSR. Both species are found on dry slopes and sandy hills and in well-lit pine forests. All species of Pulsatilla are poisonous, since they contain the glycoside ranunculine. An extract from the leaves possesses strong bactericidal and fungicidal properties. Several species, including P. patens, P. vernalis, and P. albana, are raised as ornamentals.