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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: What is Ranunculus gelidus?

Author
item Whittemore, Alan

Submitted to: Journal of Botanical Research Institute of Texas
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 12, 2008
Publication Date: July 15, 2009
Repository URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10113/44379
Citation: Whittemore, A.T. 2009. What is Ranunculus gelidus? Journal of Botanical Research Institute of Texas. 3:245-250.

Interpretive Summary: A native North American buttercup is currently being called by three names in the literature: Ranunculus gelidus, R. karelinii, and R. grayi. Accurate communication of scientific work and other information about these plants requires a stable, well documented nomenclature, so the three names and the characteristics of the plants to which they belong were investigated to ascertain the correct name for the species. Ranunculus gelidus is found to be the correct name for an Asian species that is not found in North America, while the name R. karelinii is not correct for any plant and must be abandoned. The correct name for the North American plant is R. grayi. Since the literature on plants is indexed by the scientific name, correct nomenclature allows information on these organisms to be accessed accurately and thoroughly, ensuring that the work of botanists, land managers, and conservation organizations is based on full and accurate information on the plants.

Technical Abstract: A native North American buttercup is currently being called by three names in the literature: Ranunculus gelidus, R. karelinii, and R. grayi. Accurate communication of scientific work and other information about these plants requires a stable, well documented nomenclature, so the three names and the taxonomic placement of the plants to which they belong were investigated to ascertain the correct name for the species. Ranunculus gelidus is found to be the correct name for an endemic species of central Asia and the name R. karelinii is nomenclaturally invalid. The correct name for the North American plant is R. grayi. Since the literature on plants is indexed by the scientific name, correct nomenclature allows information on these organisms to be accessed accurately and thoroughly, ensuring that the work of botanists, land managers, and conservation organizations is based on full and accurate information on the plants.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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