Lab 5: Water Lilies and Buttercups


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Plants to key out (and learn):

21. Asarum canadense (Aristolochiaceae) 'Wild ginger'
The roots of this plant can be candied or used in cooking, but this is not the source of commercial ginger, which comes from a tropical member of the Zingiberaceae family. This plant can be found in virtually all mesic forests in Wisconsin. The leaves are a classic example of the cordate shape. There are no petals.

22. Nuphar variegata (Nymphaeaceae) 'Yellow pond lily,' 'Spatterdock'
The underwater rhizomes of this plant are huge, resembling the tail or body of some scaly muck-dwelling pond monster. The leaves and flowers float on the surface of the water. The flowers of this plant can be tricky in that the sepals are petaloid (look like petals) and the petals are minute—even smaller than the stamens. The stamens look almost like little leaves.

23. Anemone quinquefolia (Ranunculaceae) 'Wood anemone'
The leaves of this plant are divided into five lobes, giving it its specific epithet, which means ‘5-leaved.’ The five-lobed leaf and the inflorescence arise separately from the rhizome (what you are seeing is the inflorescence with involucral “leaves”. Remember the rule of thumb: if either the calyx or corolla is missing chances are it is the corolla (all the petals). This plant lacks petals and the sepals are petaloid.


Species to learn:
24. Caltha palustris (Ranunculaceae) 'Marsh marigold'
The 'marigold' that you saw in lab last week as an example of a composite flower is from an entirely different family (Asteraceae). Marsh marigold tends to grow in thick bunches in shallow water or in saturated mud, almost invariably in association with a groundwater source (i.e., in spring water). There is another species in Wisconsin from this state, C. natans, which is endangered.

25. Ranunculus hispidus (Ranunculaceae) 'Swamp buttercup'
The former name of this species is Ranunculus septentrionalis. It is a somewhat polymorphic species, with leaf shape being variable, and it ranges from ground that is seasonally inundated to more mesic forests. Which floral whorls are present?

26. Ceratophyllum demersum (Ceratophyllaceae) 'Coon's tail'
A generally unrooted aquatic plant that floats right beneath the water's surface. It reproduces asexually from almost any stem fragment. This family used to be considered sister to the rest of the angiosperms but is now known to be nested within the base of the angiosperms.


Genera to learn:
27. Magnolia (Magnoliaceae) 'Magnolia'
A primitive family, long supposed to be the most primitive of the angiosperms. Its flowers exhibit obvious spiral arrangement of parts. The size of the flowers increases with latitude. Many front yards in Madison sport magnificent displays of Magnolia flowers in the spring. Anthesis (blooming) occurs before the leaves come out in many cases.

28. Anemone [specifically the former Hepatica] (Ranunculaceae) 'Hepatica,' 'Liver leaf'

We have two species that are in the old genus Hepatica: Anemone acutiloba and A. americana. According to the "Doctrine of Signatures," the liver-shaped leaves of plants in this genus conferred upon them medicinal properties affecting the liver. The former generic name (Hepatica) is from the Latin for 'liver.'

29. Nymphaea (Nymphaeaceae) 'White water-lily'
The taxonomy of this genus is still under debate, but Wisconsin's only recognized species is Nymphaea odorata, called that because its flowers are often strongly scented.

30. Enemion (Ranunculaceae) 'False rue anemone'
(Formerly Isopyrum.) In this area there is only one species in this genus, so if you come across Enemion you can safely assume that it is Enemion biternatum. It grows in moist woods, often with other members of the Ranunculaceae.