Origin of name uncertain.
Tufted perennial herbs with fibrous rootstocks. Leaves mostly basal, pinnately, palmately or irregularly divided and with 3 involucral leaves just below the flower, stalkless and generally fused together at the base. Flowers solitary, perianth segments mostly 6 with silky hair on the outer surface. Stamens surrounded by nectar-secreting sterile stamens (staminodes). Carpels free, numerous and with long styles that become feathery in fruit.
Not commonly grown except in cool areas. Known largely through 3 species: P. halleri (All.) Willd. has few if any leaves at flowering and the flower stems are densely hairy; P. patens (L.) Mill., Eastern Pasque Flower from Eurasia and N America has palmate leaves; P. vulgaris Mill., Pasque Flower, from Europe, has pinnate leaves well developed at flowering and with flower stalks with few if any hairs.
Plants often covered with a sheen of silky hair and with attractive feathery seeds. Similar to the Anemone but differing in having styles that become feathery in fruit also the nectar-secreting sterile stamens.
About 30 northern temperate species.
Source: (1997). Ranunculaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.