Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago

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S.G. Aiken, M.J. Dallwitz, L.L. Consaul, C.L. McJannet, R.L. Boles, G.W. Argus, J.M. Gillett, P.J. Scott, R. Elven, M.C. LeBlanc, L.J. Gillespie, A.K. Brysting, H. Solstad, and J.G. Harris

Ranunculus lapponicus L.

English: Lapland buttercup,

French: Renoncule de Lapponie.

Ranunculaceae, Buttercup family.

Published in Sp. Pl. 553. 1753.

Type: Selected by Benson, Amer. Midl. Natural. 52: 369. 1954. Lectotype: LINN 714.43.

Synonymy. Coptidium lapponicum (L.) Tzvelev, Byull. Mosk. Obshch. Ispyt. Prir., Biol. 99: 64. 1994.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 5–7 cm high; perennial herbs; not caespitose. Only fibrous roots present. Roots slender. Ground level or underground stems horizontal; rhizomatous; elongate (filiform, freely rooting from the nodes, deeply burried in moss); filiform. Caudex absent. Aerial stems erect; not filiform. Leaves present; arising singly from creeping rhizomes; alternate; dying annually and non-persistent. Petioles present; 45–55 mm long. Leaf blades simple (but so deeply divided they appear superficially compound, division 10–25 mm long). Blades 14–20(–25) mm long, 30–33 mm wide, ovate (wider than high) or triangular, flat, veins palmate. Blade adaxial surface without sessile glands, glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glabrous. Blade margins flat, blades lobed. Blade margins crenate, with teeth toward the apex. Hydathodes present but inconspicuous. Blade apices rounded.

Reproductive morphology. Plants bisexual. Flowering stems without leaves. Flowers solitary. Flowers medium-sized. Sepals conventional; 3; free; 2–5 mm long; 4–7 mm wide; yellow and brown; scarious. Calyx glabrous. Petals conventional; free; same length as the calyx; 5–8; yellow; obovate; unlobed; 5–6 mm long; 2–3 mm wide. Stamens 17–24; stamen filaments glabrous. Nectaries present (nectar scale forms a pocket; glabrous). Receptacle 1–2 mm high (1–1.5 mm in flower, 2 mm in fruit); surface glabrous. Ovary carpels 11–14; apocarpous. Stigmas per ovary 1. Placentation parietal. Ovules per ovary 1. Fruit stalk 17 mm long; dry; an aggregate of achenes (each achene constricted at middle, basal portion occupied by seed, apical portion by spongy parenchyma); ovoid (hemisperical); yellowish; 4–5(–7) mm long; 8–10 mm wide (each achene 3.8–4.2 × 2–2–2.2 mm, glabrous, beak persistent, lanceolate, curved 1.6–2.4 mm long); indehiscent. Styles becoming hooked (at the tip). Seeds 1.

Chromosome information. 2n = 16.

2n (2x) = 16. Löve and Löve (1975) listed numerous counts, many of them as arctic, e.g., Langlet (1932); Böcher (1938a, 1938b); Flovik (1936, 1940, Svalbard); Böcher and Larsen (1950); Bormann and Beatty (1955, Alaska); Sokolovskaya (1958, 1962, 1968, northeastern Asia, Koryak); Sokolovskaya and Strelkova (1960); Löve and Ritchie (1966, northern Canada); Zhukova (1967a, northeastern Asia); Johnson and Packer (1968, northwestern Alaska); Göpfert (1974); Scott in Löve (1974); Krogulevich (1976a, northern Siberia; 1984, Siberia); Probatova and Rudyka (1981, northeastern Asia); Löve and Löve (1982, central Canada); Lavrenko and Serditov (1984, 1985, northeastern Russia); Lavrenko et al. (1988, 1989, northern Russia); Dalgaard (1989 western Greenland).

Ploidy levels recorded 2x.

Indigenous knowledge. Starving individuals among western Eskimo groups ate the soaked plant of Ranunculus lapponicus as a dietary aid before consuming other food (Moerman 1986).

Ecology and habitat. Bogs, muskeg, lakesides. In damp moss, often under willows or in sphagnum bogs (Porsild 1957).

North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec, Labrador. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago limited. Rare. Arctic, boreal. Arctic islands: Baffin.

Northern hemisphere distribution. Circumpolar, or circumboreal. Northern Fennoscandian, Kanin–Pechora, Svalbard – Franz Joseph Land, Polar Ural – Novaya Zemlya, Yamal–Gydan, Taimyr – Severnaya Zemlya, Anabar–Olenyok, Kharaulakh, Yana–Kolyma, West Chukotka, South Chukotka, East Chukotka, West Alaska, North Alaska – Yukon, Central Canada, Labrador – Hudson Bay, West Greenland.

General notes. Whittemore (1997), in the Flora of North America, treated this taxon as Ranunculus lapponicus L. and placed this species as the only one in North America in subg. Coptidium (Nyman) L.D. Benson. He was aware that considerable disagreement exists among authors on the proper generic and infrageneric classification of Ranunculus and chose to follow the generic and infrageneric treatment of Benson (1948).

Elven et al. (2003, 2005) treated this taxon as Coptidium lapponicum (L.) Tzvelev, but stated they would prefer having additional characters before maintaining this taxon at the generic level. In this subgenus or genus, the glabrous nectary scale is attached on 3 sides, forming a pocket, with the free margin entire. The flowers are sweetly scented, which is characteristic of genus Coptidum and not of genus Ranunculus.

Illustrations. • Close-up of plant. Plant in late flowering stage. Note: (1) brownish calyx, (2) unlobed petals, (3) club-shaped anthers, (4) absence of leaves on the flowering stem, (5) leaves with teeth toward the apex. Norway, Svalbard, Sassen Valley. 17 August, 1986. Photograph by R. Elven. Voucher at TROM. • Herbarium specimen. Flowering plants with long horizontal stems. Yukon, Canol Road, Mile 132. 17 June, 1944. A.E. Porsild and A.J. Breitung 9575. CAN 55823. • Herbarium specimen. Fruiting head with numerous achenes. Yukon, Canol Road, Mile 132. 17 June, 1944. A.E. Porsild and A.J. Breitung 9575. CAN 55823. • Close-up of flowering plant. Plant showing long horizontal stems, simple, deeply divided leaves with long petioles, and the underside of a flower with three glabrous sepals. Drawing by Mrs. S. Bergh and Mrs. L. Barstad based on a herbarium specimen. Svalbard, Nordenskiöld Land, Advent Bay, Longyeardalen. 17 July, 1924. J. Lid. With permission of the Botanical Museum, University of Oslo, Norway. • Arctic Island Distribution.


This publication is available on the internet (posted May 2011) and on CD-ROM (published in 2007). These versions are identical in content, except that the errata page for CD-ROM is accessible on the main index page of the web version.

Recommended citation for the web-based version of this publication: Aiken, S.G., Dallwitz, M.J., Consaul, L.L., McJannet, C.L., Boles, R.L., Argus, G.W., Gillett, J.M., Scott, P.J., Elven, R., LeBlanc, M.C., Gillespie, L.J., Brysting, A.K., Solstad, H., and Harris, J.G. 2007. Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval. NRC Research Press, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa. http://nature.ca/aaflora/data, accessed on DATE.

Recommended citation for the CD-ROM version of this publication: Aiken, S.G., Dallwitz, M.J., Consaul, L.L., McJannet, C.L., Boles, R.L., Argus, G.W., Gillett, J.M., Scott, P.J., Elven, R., LeBlanc, M.C., Gillespie, L.J., Brysting, A.K., Solstad, H., and Harris, J.G. 2007. Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval. [CD-ROM] NRC Research Press, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa.

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