ranunculus(redirected from spearwort)
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(buttercup, crowfoot), a genus of plants of the family Ranunculaceae. They are perennial or annual herbs; some are aquatic. The alternate leaves are palmatipartite or pinnatisect, lobed, or entire. The flowers are solitary or in inflorescences. There are usually five sepals (sometimes anywhere between three and seven) and five petals. The petals are generally yellow, sometimes white, or less frequently red. The fruit is a multiple nut.
There are more than 400 species distributed worldwide, primarily in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere. Approximately 180 species are found throughout the USSR, mainly in damp areas, meadows, thickets, and forests, as well as along shores and on dry slopes. They also grow as weeds in fields. The most common species are creeping crowfoot (Ranunculus repens), cursed crowfoot (R. sceleratus), buttercup (R. acris), lesser spearwort (R. flammula), and R. polyanthemus. The foliage of many species is poisonous to varying degrees; it contains the glycosides protoanemonin and ranunculin. When the plant is dried (as hay), the toxicity is lost. The Persian buttercup (R. asiaticus) and some other species are grown as ornamentals. Aquatic species of Ranunculus are often classified in the genus Batrachium.
REFERENCEOvchinnikov, P. N. “Rod Liutik—Ranunculus L.” In Flora SSSR, vol. 7. Moscow-Leningrad, 1937.
T. V. EGOROVA