Journal Article

Survival of <i>Ranunculus repens</i> L. (Creeping Buttercup) in an Amphibious Habitat


in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 91, issue 1, pages 75-84
Published in print January 2003 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online January 2003 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI:
Survival of Ranunculus repens L. (Creeping Buttercup) in an Amphibious Habitat

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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The turlough form of Ranunculus repens is subjected to several months’ complete inundation with hard groundwater. Experimental flooding to the level of the soil surface had no effect on turlough or ruderal populations relative to drained controls. Experimental submergence resulted in direct tissue death of the ruderal population but did not affect the turlough population relative to drained controls. There was no detectable difference in the proportion of aerenchyma in drained, flooded and submerged roots of plants from either population. The proportion of aerenchyma increased with root age in the ruderal population. Up to twice the proportion of aerenchyma occurred in the lower third of the root in the turlough population relative to the middle and upper thirds. Submergence in artificially hardened tap water increased the amount of tissue death in the ruderal population, whereas it appeared to enhance the growth of plants from the turlough population relative to that of plants submerged in tap water. Only the ruderal population demonstrated a depth accommodation response in submerged conditions. Root concentrations of ethanol‐soluble carbohydrates were up to three times higher in a field‐ collected turlough population during winter and autumn months than those in a ruderal population. Low levels of ethanol‐insoluble carbohydrates were present in the turlough population but were absent from the ruderal population. Starch concentrations fluctuated greatly in the turlough population and were generally higher than those in the ruderal population. These results, together with those from previous investigations, suggest that the turlough population survives prolonged submergence by maintaining low levels of submerged photosynthesis, which may circulate oxygen within the plant tissues, and by utilizing storage carbohydrates for maintenance respiration.

Keywords: Key words:Ranunculus repens L., creeping buttercup, turlough, flooding, submergence, storage carbohydrate, aerenchyma, depth accommodation.

Journal Article.  5690 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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