7. THE BUTTERCUP FAMILY
The plants of the Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) are herbaceous (except Clematis climbers) and poisonous.
The plants of the Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) are herbaceous (except Clematis climbers) and poisonous. This family includes large and important genera such as buttercups (Ranunculus), anemones (Anemone), pasqueflowers (Pulsatilla), and the tall perennials monkshoods (Aconitum) and larkspurs (Delphinium). Most genera shed seeds which need to stay on the ground to have their embryos become mature before the seeds can germinate.
The family is very old. The flowers of globeflowers (Trollius) resemble the cones of the extinct conifer relatives which were the ancestors of the flowering plants. Yet, unlike cones, the globeflowers are bisexual and have colours to attract pollinators. Besides, the seeds are no longer in ‘naked’ positions on cone scales, as the latter have gradually, during the course of evolution, become incurved and fused, so that the seeds are embedded inside the new organ ‘fruit’. By studying the dry follicle fruit of the globeflower, you can have this evolutionary process visualized.
The flowering plants have a high diversity regarding transport of both pollen and seeds. The flowers of this garden have been made for the insects, not as ornamentals for humans. Right now, you are actually standing in an outdoor museum of coevolution.