This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, to cut, from the cut leaves). Ranunculaceae. Hardy perennial herbs of the cooler parts of the northern hemisphere, sometimes planted in bogs and moist places.
Low, stemless plants, with slender rootstocks: leaves radical, compound or divided, lasting over winter: flowers white or yellow, scapose; sepals 5-7, petallike; petals 5-6, small, linear, hood-like; stamens numerous: carpels stalked, few, becoming an umbel of follicles. - Eight species, only one of which is used in American gardens.
The bitter roots yield the tonic medicine known as "gold thread;" also a yellow dye. The plants should have peaty soil, with a little sand, and prefer shade, in damp situations. They are rather hardy. The roots withstand severe winters, being native of the cooler parts of the northern hemisphere. If the plants are given some protection in winter, as in a cold pit or by a dressing of litter, the leaves remain green and fresh. The plants are valuable in hardy borders because of the leaves and also the flowers.
The plants are very easily propagated in either early spring or late fall, the former being preferred. Seeds may be sown when ripe, before they become old, and will grow readily in moist but well-drained soil. They should be only slightly covered with soil but the surface should be kept moist by a close covering with leaves or paper, and partial shade is preferred. The seedlings may be transplanted at any time after the leaves are large, by keeping plenty of soil about the roots.
Salisb. No stem: rootstock yellow: leaves compound, long-petioled; leaflets broadly obovate, cuneate, obtuse, the teeth mucronate: flower-stem slender; sepals white, with yellow base; petals small, club-shaped: follicles 3-7, spreading, equaled by their stalk; seeds black. May-July. Adirondacks and westward. L.B.C. 2:173. - Neat and pretty, with shining leaves
K. C. Davis.