Ranunculus asiaticus

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@starpower.net
Sat, 25 Feb 2006 09:19:15 PST
Speaking of Ranunculus asiaticus, Eugene Zielinski wrote:" I don't know of
any commercial source for seed or tubers of the true species "

Oh, yes you do! Every good bulb catalog lists the cultivated forms of
Ranunculus asiaticus, and these - unless they are of hybrid origin -  are no
more or no less Ranunculus asiaticus than any wild form. 

Gardeners often use that expression "the true species" as a sort of
shorthand to refer to the nomenclatural type or to plants of wild rather
than cultivated origin. To say it again: the cultivated sorts are just as
much Ranunculus asiaticus as any wild sort. 

I don't know what the nomenclatural type for Ranunculus asiaticus is - the
combination is Linnaean and more than likely it was a plant of cultivated
origin. If that's true, and if a botanist wants to recognize a wild
population as a distinct subspecies, variety, forma or other rank, then we
will have the peculiar situation where the newly recognized wild form will
be a variety of the type form (which for purposes of this discussion we have
assumed to be a cultivated form). Common sense says that the cultivated
forms had to originate from wild forms, but the rules of nomenclature
require that the species carry the named of the first named 
 form of the species. 

Contrary to what many people seem to assume, the form of the nomenclature
does not express the biology of the situation.   

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where Ranunculus asiaticus in
any form is a cold frame plant.  

-----Original Message-----
From: pbs-bounces@lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:pbs-bounces@lists.ibiblio.org]
On Behalf Of Eugene Zielinski
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2006 10:30 PM
To: pbs@lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [pbs] Ranunculus asiaticus

R. asiaticus seed definitely doesn't have to be fresh to give good
germination.  I've had successful germination (about 75%) from seed that
was at least two years old, and stored at room temperature.  My problem was
that the plants seemed to stop growing after they produced a few true
leaves.  This may have been because they germinated in the spring, and
their growth was stopped by warm weather.  Seed appears to germinate best
with warm days and cold nights, but I'm not 100% sure of that.
I don't know of any commercial source for seed or tubers of the true
species.  It is occasionally offered on the North American Rock Garden
Society seed exchange, but not this year.
Incidentally, Polunin and Huxley, in Flowers of the Mediterranean, describe
the flowers as "often scarlet, but may be white, yellow, or orange."  The
book has a great picture of the scarlet version on the cover.

Eugene Zielinski
Augusta, GA

> Subject: [pbs] Ranunculus asiaticus
> To: Pacific Bulb Society <pbs@lists.ibiblio.org>
> Ranunculus asiaticus has various attractive color forms in the wild, but 
> I've never seen it offered for sale. Rix's "Bulbs" describes it as
> killed at -10 [C]," which would not strike us on the Pacific Coast as 
> "tender." Does anyone know where I can get some fresh seed or rhizomes of 
> this plant?
> Jane McGary
> Northwestern Oregon, USA

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