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Ranunculus – Wikipedia

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**Distribution and Evolution**:
– Buttercups are found on all continents except Antarctica.
– They primarily inhabit temperate or montane habitats.
– Originated in northern Eurasia during the late Eocene or Oligocene.
– Rapidly radiated worldwide, dispersing up to the present.
– Fossil evidence suggests past presence in Antarctica up to the mid-late Pliocene.
– Fossil seeds and achenes have been found in various locations, providing insights into ancient distribution and evolution of buttercups.

**Description and Naming**:
– Buttercups are mostly perennial herbaceous plants with distinct characteristics.
– Flowers are hermaphrodite, with usually five sepals and petals.
– Fruits are achenes that may vary in texture.
– The genus name ‘Ranunculus’ means ‘little frog’ in Late Latin.
– Common name ‘buttercup’ has historical significance.
– Various indigenous names exist for buttercups.
– Proposals to split the genus into several based on molecular investigation.

**Medicinal Uses**:
– Ranunculus species used in traditional medicines for various purposes.
– Compounds like protoanemonin and anemonin justify medicinal uses.
– Asian traditional medicines use Ranunculus species for fever, rheumatism, and rubefacient purposes.
– Ongoing research on pharmacological activity of Ranunculus species.
– Historical practices form the basis of traditional medicinal uses.

**Toxicity and Management**:
– All Ranunculus species are poisonous if eaten fresh.
– Symptoms of poisoning in livestock include bloody diarrhea and excessive salivation.
– Awareness of buttercup toxicity is crucial for livestock management.
– Acrid taste and blistering properties deter consumption.
– Livestock poisoning can occur in overgrazed fields abundant with buttercups.

**Species and Research**:
– Ranunculus is a diverse genus with over 600 species.
– Ranunculus flowers come in various colors and are found in different habitats worldwide.
– Taxonomy, classification, and biogeographical history of Ranunculus species are well-documented.
– Research areas include phylogenetic studies, phytochemical composition, and potential toxicity.
– Various sources and databases offer comprehensive information on Ranunculus for further exploration.

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