Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago
English: Gmelin's water crowfoot,
French: Renoncule de Gmelin.
Ranunculaceae, Buttercup family.
Published in Syst. Nat. 1: 303. 1817.
Synonymy. Ranunculus limosus Nutt., in Torrey and A. Gray, Fl. N. Amer. 1: 20. 1838.
Ranunculus yukonensis Britt., Bull. N.Y. Bot. Gard. 2: 169. 1901.
Ranunculus purshii Richardson subsp. yukonensis A.E. Porsild, Rhodora 41: 229. 1939.
Ranunculus gmelinii DC. var. yukonensis L. D. Benson, Bull. Torrey Club 69: 314. 1942.
Ranunculus gmelinii var. purshii ( Richardson ) H.Hara, Rhodora 41: 386. 1939.
Vegetative morphology. Plants 1–3 cm high; perennial herbs; not caespitose. Only fibrous roots present. Roots slender but fleshy, about 1 mm in diameter. Ground level or underground stems horizontal; stoloniferous; elongate (freely rooting at the nodes); 0.5–1 mm wide. Caudex absent. Aerial stems basal leaves absent; not filiform. Aerial stem trichomes appressed (if applicable). Leaves present; distributed along the stems; alternate (with 3 deeply divided primary lobes each further divided 2–3 times); dying annually and non-persistent. Petioles present; 4–7 mm long. Leaf blades simple. Leaf blade bases cordate. Leaves not grass-like. Blades 6–15(–65) mm long, 10–24 mm wide (to 90 mm wide on continental North America), circular or reniform, flat, veins palmate. Blade adaxial surface glabrescent, hairs simple. Blade abaxial surface hairy, hairs pilose, hairs sparse, hairs white. Blades lobed (with 3–5 cuneate lobes, each divided again into 2–3 rounded divisions) or not lobed. Blade margins entire; apices acute.
Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems two or more per plant; with leaves. Flowers solitary. Flowers medium-sized. Sepals conventional; 4–5; free; 2–4 mm long; 2–5 mm wide; yellow and brown; scarious. Calyx glabrous, or hairy. Calyx hairs pubescent (sparsely); white or translucent. Petals conventional; free; 5; yellow; obovate; unlobed; 3–7 mm long; 1–2.5 mm wide. Stamens 15–25; stamen filaments glabrous. Nectaries present (nectary scales variable, funnel-shaped, crescent-shaped, or a flap). Receptacle 1–4 mm high (1–2 mm in flower, 4 mm in fruit; hairy); surface hairy (hispid). Ovary carpels 12–18; apocarpous. Stigmas per ovary 1. Placentation parietal. Ovules per ovary 1. Fruit dry; an aggregate of achenes; ovoid, or spherical; yellowish; 1.5–2 mm long; 1–1.25 mm wide; indehiscent. Styles remaining straight. Seeds 1.
Chromosome information. 2n = 16, 24, and 32.
2n (2x) = 16. Sokolovskaya (1963, northeastern Asia, Kamtch; 1970, northeastern Russia); Löve and Ritchie (1966, central Canada); Zhukova (1966, northeastern Asia); Hedberg (1967, northeastern Canada); Scott, in Löve (1974); Belaeva and Siplivinsky (1976, southern and northern Siberia); Zhukova and Petrovsky (1976, 1980, western Chukotka); Zhukova et al. (1977, northeastern Asia); Krogulevich (1978, 1984, Siberia); Vodopyanova and Krogulevich (1981, Siberia); Probatova and Rudyka (1981, northeastern Asia); Yurtsev and Zhukova (1982, northern Siberia); Krogulevich and Rostovtseva (1984, northeastern Asia); Krasnikov and Schaulo (1986, 1990, Siberia); Lavrenko et al. (1989, northern Russia); Malakha (1990, northeastern Asia); Murray and Kelso (1997, western Alaska, two counts);
2n (3x) = 24. Krogulevich (1976a, northern Siberia); Vodopyanov and Krogulevich (1981, Siberia);
2n (4x) = 32. Zhukova (1966, 1980, 1982, northeastern Asia); Johnson and Packer (1968, northwestern Alaska); Scott in Löve (1974, North America); Packer and McPherson (1974, northern Alaska); Löve and Löve, in Löve (1975a, 1982, central Canada, both as R. limosus); Zhukova et al. (1977, northeastern Asia); Zhukova and Petrovsky (1980, western Chukotka, as R. gmelinii subsp. purshii); Vodopyanov and Krogulevich (1981, Siberia); Petrovsky and Zhukova (1981, Wrangel Island); Krasnikova et al. (1983, southern and northern Siberia); Krogulevich (1984, Siberia); Lavrenko and Serditov (1984, 1985, northeastern Russia; 1991, northern Russia).
Ploidy levels recorded 2x/3x/4x.
Ecology and habitat. Substrates: wet meadows. Shallow water or drying mud, swamps, marshes, ponds, shores of rivers (Porsild 1957).
North American distribution. Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories Islands, continental Northwest Territories, Nunavut Islands, continental Nunavut, northern Quebec. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago limited. Uncommon. Arctic, boreal. Arctic islands: Parry islands (Prince Patrick, Melville), Banks, Victoria.
Northern hemisphere distribution. Amphi-Beringian (very broadly). KaninPechora, Polar Ural Novaya Zemlya, YamalGydan, Taimyr Severnaya Zemlya, AnabarOlenyok, Kharaulakh, YanaKolyma, West Chukotka, Wrangel Island, South Chukotka, East Chukotka, West Alaska, North Alaska Yukon, Central Canada, Labrador Hudson Bay.
General notes. The mainly Eurasian R. gmelinii and the American R. purshii may be seen either as parapatric subspecies or as vicariant species (based on possibly different ploidy levels). Elven et al. (2003) proposed them as subspecies. A third taxon of the group, the tetraploid R. limosus Nutt., was given as arctic by Löve and Löve (1975), but this has not been accepted by other standard sources. Elven et al. (2003) included the name in subsp. gmelinii. Scoggan (1978) treated it as a variety, together with var. hookeri (D. Don) L.D. Benson (= subsp. purshii) and var. gmelinii. The characters used to distinguish R. limosus are such that might be associated with the reported hybridisation between R. gmelinii and R. hyperboreus; see Cayouette et al. Rhodora 99: 263–274. 1997.
Whittemore (1997) noted that this taxon has been divided into varieties on the basis of indument and flower size. These characters are variable and poorly correlated with one another. These varieties scarcely seem natural.
Illustrations. • Habitat. Dense mat of plants growing on dry tundra beside a pond. N.W.T., Tuktoyaktuk. 20 July, 1981. J.M. Gillett 18702. CAN. • Close-up of plant. Buttercup with yellow flowers, developing fruits, and compound leaves with three leaflets that are further partially divided and lobed. Manitoba, Churchill. Aiken and Brysting 01039. CAN. • Close-up of leaves. Compound leaves of three leaflets that are further partially divided and lobed - a characteristic leaf shape for this plant. Manitoba, Churchill. Aiken and Brysting 01039. CAN. • Surface view of fruit. Surface view of developing fruits that are an aggregate of achenes. Manitoba, Churchill. Aiken and Brysting 01039. CAN. • Herbarium specimen. Note the long rhizome, the solitary flower and the divided leaves. Plant collected N.W.T., Mackenzie Delta, Peel channel, 5 miles from Aklavik. 10 August, 1951. A.A. Lindsey. CAN 216236. • 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..