Trollius albiflorus

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Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Here's a photo from the Alplains site of T. albiflorus.  Is this more how those in your area look, Panayoti, as compared to the chalk-white flowers that occur here?
http://www.alplains.com/images/TrolliusAlbi.jpg

Good question, Rick.  I had recently googled one or the other of these species and was mentally questioning the ID of one of the photos that came up, re. native North American Trollius versus Anemone.  
This key to Ranunculacaea at eFlora of North America is a lot more complicated than I can wrap my little mind around right now (although the answer is in there, of course):
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=10757

Hmmm, a good little research project... unless some knowledgeable person out there can help us out by explaining in simpler terms?  Pretty please?  :)

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Lori wrote:

Good question, Rick.  I had recently googled one or the other of these species and was mentally questioning the ID of one of the photos that came up, re. native North American Trollius versus Anemone.  
This key to Ranunculacaea at eFlora of North America is a lot more complicated than I can wrap my little mind around right now (although the answer is in there, of course):
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=10757

Hmmm, a good little research project... unless some knowledgeable person out there can help us out by explaining in simpler terms?  Pretty please?  :)

Yes, if I could only tell if the fruit was an achene or utricle, as opposed to something else  :rolleyes:  
Yow! (and Help!)

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Oooh, oooh, I know that one!! (Or rather to be honest, I didn't, until I thought for a while about what the seed structures look like for these genera and then looked up the terms!   ;D)

Here are the "utricles"* (correction: "follicles", see following posts) of Trollius albiflorus in the background of this photo:

And here are the "achenes"** of Anemone lithophila:

*Utricle: "A small, thin-walled, one-seeded, more or less bladdery-inflated fruit.
**Achene: "A small, dry, indehiscent fruit with a single locule and a single seed (ovule), and with the seed attached to the ovary wall at a single point, as in the sunflower".
Both definitions are from Harris and Harris' Plant Identification Terminology: An Illustrated Glossary

But of course that only helps us when the seed structures are visible.  What about the rest of the time?

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

I've gone through the Flora of North America key several times, and from what I can tell, only Trautvetteria has utricles (yes, I had to look up these terms too :)), and only rarely do utricles occur in Ranunculus (typically has achenes).  Going through the "couplets" in the key, couplet #4 branches off to get to Trollius at #12: fruits are follicles, capsules, or berries, and to get to Anemone follows #5: fruits are achenes or utricles.  So I don't think Trollius has utricles, it has follicles (aggregated follicles), and Anemone has achenes (aggregated).  Seems that fruit structure is most definitely an important part of genus differentiation in the Ranunculus family.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Ahh, thanks, Mark, for having the mental horsepower to actually work through the key!  

In my opinon, the key pulled a bit of a fast one on us in going from:
"Flowers radially symmetric; sepals showy or not; petals present or absent, smaller to larger than sepals. (4)"
To:
"4 (1) Fruits achenes or utricles; ovule 1 per pistil. (5)"
To (skipping a few steps in between):
"Achenes without veins on lateral surfaces; style present. 5 Anemone"
... without following up on the utricle/achene/etc. differentiation.

However, by looking in the descriptions of the individual genera, the differences are explained, as you have pointed out, Mark.  (Lesson learned... one must grind through the whole key and the individual descriptions sometimes!)

So, the definition of "follicle": "A dry, dehiscent fruit composed of a single carpel and opening along a single side, as a milkweed pod" (Harris & Harris).

Scroll down in this link to see seed structures ("utricles") of Trautvetteria caroliniensis:
http://www.missouriplants.com/Whitealt/Trautvetteria_caroliniensis_page....

So, anyway, I think it's safe to say that the seed structures of Anemone and Trollius look different... not to put too fine a point on it.   ;D ;D

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Exactly, Mark.

Of course each achene or utricle is an individual one-seeded part of the seed head.  I (we) am very familiar with an achene on a Thalictrum sp., but I am not prepared to translate that into other genera.  (I have that book you mention too, Lori, and it says a sunflower seed -with the shell - is an achene,also.)  And in addition, I have no idea what other botanical structures might look like them.

Differentiating between Trollus and Anemone, I suppose you could say with certainty that if the individual structure (not the aggregate head) has more than one seed, than it cannot be an anemone.  But I wouldn't necessarily say the other way around is true.

While at a Chapter get together for seed packaging this year, I discovered we now have a British member who is trained in plant taxonomy, and often used a dissecting microscope for her work.  I should pick her brain... a lot!

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Anonymous
Title: Guest

Lori wrote:

Odd that e-Flora of North America claims it occurs in more-or-less acidic substrates, while it is also a common plant here in the front ranges of the northern Rockies, where extremely thick sections of limestone and dolomite form vast outcrop exposures and alkaline substrates.

Hi Lori,  The answer to you question is rather complicated.  Organic material decomposing over limestone is typically sub-acidic.  Acidic areas might be found locally on rotten stumps, logs, and such.  The habitat of Trollius laxus is organic material that has formed over limestone.  I understand this species is typically located in Thuja swamps.  

The controlling factor in water pH levels is predominantly the amount of Carbon dioxide gas that is dissolved.  Oxidizing organic material produces acids which change to dissolved Carbon dioxide (an acid) upon complete decomposition.  When ground water reaches the surface the dissolved Carbon dioxide can be released as a gas.  This rapid increase in pH causes the precipitation of minerals like Calcium carbonate.  This is the mechanism that forms tufa.  

Temperature is also an important factor.  As the temperature rises less Carbon dioxide is soluble in water.  This can increase the pH of the soil further.  Only the most tolerant plants can withstand a high pH level.  This is one reason many native species will no longer grow in old field which have lost most organic matter.  It may take many centuries for the organic matter to rebuild to the point that the ecosystem can recover.

The follicle/achene difference has always confused me.

James    

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Thanks for a review of the chemistry, James. 
I have no problem accepting that the organic layer layer that forms over alpine bedrock may form a widespread acidic layer in the southerly range of T. albiflorus, where the bedrock itself is primarily acidic in nature (being largely composed of igneous and metamorphic rocks - much different geology than here where the alpine exposures are largely very thick successions of limestone and dolomite that were thrust-faulted to surface), and also that deep-rooted alpine plants there may only have their roots coming into contact with acidic groundwaters.  (N.B. By the way, neither T. laxus nor Thuja swamps occur here.) 

I find it hard to believe here, though, that the acidic effect from the thin organic layer that forms over calcareous bedrock would not be not rapidly counteracted by the flow of CaC03-laden waters through and across hundred of kilometers of carbonate outcrops, and that the deeply penetrating roots of many of these alpines would not be contacting alkaline groundwater.  Note that I am talking about alpine areas here, where glacial action has scoured the surfaces clean, and there is no layer of Precambrian shield-derived glacial drift (such as we have out on the plains here, and as you also have in your area).  Where moraines were deposited, they consist of screes and talus of largely carbonate material. 
These high elevation areas are, of course, groundwater recharge areas, but the groundwater flow is not only vertical downwards (from rain and snow melt) but also lateral across and through the near-subsurface of vast expanses of carbonate rock.  (While groundwater recharge occurs on a particle scale, note that these formations have relatively high porosity and permeability, enough to act as economically-producible hydrocarbon reservoirs in this area.)  Groundwaters in the front range Rockies are calcium-magnesium-bicarbonate type waters, and the main effect in areas where the waters flow through less-calcareous area (e.g. alluvial fans from Cretaceous deposits) is relatively minor (slightly lower TDS, for example). 
Anyway, it's something I'll have to talk to our hydrogeologists at work about.  And better yet... I think I'll arm myself with some pH tabs and use them this coming summer to see if I can finally satisfy myself on this once and for all!

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Achenes (and utricles) never open and release their content. All Trollius I know of have follicles that open and release black seed. I would say that the difference between the genera Anemones and Ranunculus is more difficult as both have achenes. However, Trollius and Ranunculus do have nectaries which Anemone doesn't have.

Take a look here:
http://www.google.no/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=eudicottene&source=web&cd=2&ved=0C...

http://www.google.no/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=eudicottene&source=web&cd=1&ved=0C...

Regarding acidic soil: A plant can grow in a thin layer of acidic peat overlying basic bedrock and the peat can stay acidic as long as the precipitation is greater than the evaporation. It doesn't matter that the roots grow down into the basic underground as long as some of the roots can take up the ions needed from the acidic peat. Acidic or basic - it is a question of solubility of ions. All plants need approximately the same ions in the same proportions. However, the ability to ion uptake from soils of different acidity differs greatly.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Anonymous
Title: Guest

Lori,

Lori wrote:

...where the bedrock itself is primarily acidic in nature (being largely composed of igneous and metamorphic rocks - much different geology than here where the alpine exposures are largely very thick successions of limestone and dolomite that were thrust-faulted to surface)

Silica based rock is not acidic.  Most Silica based rock is not involved in the water chemistry.  This type of rock is like a glass beaker.  It holds the reaction, but does not effect it.  This is the reason the oxidizing organic material makes water so acidic (~pH 4, about the acidity of an apple).  In this situation, the rock does not dissolve.  In a Calcium carbonate system Carbon dioxide can be released as a gas which buffers the solution.

Lori wrote:

... and there is no layer of Precambrian shield-derived glacial drift (such as we have out on the plains here, and as you also have in your area).

Although my area does have Precambrian shield-derived glacial drift, it has been deposited on the Niagara escarpment.  The only really acidic habitats are where sand deposits have been leached of ions and oligotrophic bogs as described by Hoy.

Lori wrote:

(While groundwater recharge occurs on a particle scale, note that these formations have relatively high porosity and permeability, enough to act as economically-producible hydrocarbon reservoirs in this area.)

Limestone deposits are often quite hard.  My observation is that water typically moves laterally over them, instead of through them.  The exceptions are where a fault in the layer occurs or a cave has been dissolved through the stone.  I am curious about your statement that "groundwater recharge occurs on a particle scale?"  I will have to research this topic more.

How have you come to know so much about geology?

James

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