Tuesday, November 17, 2009
R is for Ranunculus
"Ranunculus (pronounced /ræˈnʌŋkjʊləs/) is a large genus of about 400 species of plants in the Ranunculaceae. It includes the buttercups, spearworts, water crowfoots and the lesser celandine (but not the greater celandine of the poppy family Papaveraceae).
They are mostly herbaceous perennials with bright yellow or white flowers (if white, still with a yellow centre); some are annuals or biennials. A few have orange or red flowers and occasionally, as in R. auricomus, petals may be absent. The petals are often highly lustrous, especially in yellow species. Buttercups usually flower in April or May but flowers may be found throughout the summer especially where the plants are growing as opportunistic colonisers, as in the case of garden weeds.
The Water crowfoots (Ranunculus subgenus Batrachium), which grow in still or running water, are sometimes treated in a separate genus Batrachium. They have two different leaf types, thread-like leaves underwater and broader floating leaves although for some species, such as R. aquatilis, a third, intermediate leaf form occurs.
Ranunculus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Hebrew Character and Small Angle Shades. Some species are popular ornamental flowers in horticulture, with many cultivars selected for large and brightly coloured flowers".
I must to confess to being somewhat confused about ranunculus. but I think it has something to do with the Greater Celedine and the Lesser Celedine.
I do believe that Wikipedia is talking about the Lesser Celedine in the above extract as you will note that Wikipedia makes the comment about their prolificacy as follows:
" Buttercups usually flower in April or May but flowers may be found throughout the summer especially where the plants are growing as opportunistic colonisers, as in the case of garden weeds".
I have certainly found this to be the case in our garden, (see first photo) where the buttercups grow with great vigor, side by each with whichever garden flower they might fancy.
I know that you can buy ranunculus bulbs shaped like little oysters with dangly legs that spring forth in the spring in varied hues - a veritable feast of colours.
But I am only familiar with the lovely lustrous pushy type that twines its wandering roots around the Oriental Peony and is now making itself at home among the Iris.
I would welcome any information which would clear up my confusion!
For other R's skip on over to ABC Wednesday here.