Ranunculus pulchettus var. sericeus Hook.f. & Thoms.
Perennial, 5-10 cm high, with numerous fibrous roots. Stem with 1 or 2 branches. Stem, leaves, peduncles and sepals densely whitish-tomentose. Basal leaves mostly reduced to wide membranous sheaths, only 1-2 innermost leaves with a short petiole and a lanceolate, entire or apically dentate blade. Stem leaves sessile, 2-3-fid, primary segments often 2-fid again, lobes of the last order linear to oblong-linear, up to 3 (-3.5) mm wide obtuse, upper surface rarely glabrescent. Flowers 8-12 mm in diameter, yellow. Sepals 4.5-6 mm, ovate, navicular-obtuse or subacute. petals only slightly longer than sepals or equal to them, obovate to obovate-oblong, veined. Carpels small, glabrous or pubescent (mature achenes not known) numerous, arranged in a globose head. Style straight or often recurved, subulate from a broad triangular base.
Fl. Per., June-July.
Type: Lippa in Kunawar, Royle (? LIV).
Gilgit: A-7 Darkot, Bowes Lyon 8136 (RAW), Chitral: Gangalwat Gol, damp ground, 11000', Stainton 2716 (RAW), B-7 Swat: Kalam, nr. snow, 16.6.1958. I. Ahmad s.n. (RAW).
Distribution: Endemic in the Western Himalaya including Kashmir.
Ranunculus membranaceus Royle is a very distinct species characterised by reduced, sheathing basal leaves (which probably give it its name) deeply divided stem leaves, densely tomentose indument on all parts except the upper leaf surface, small flowers and globose head of carpels with usually recurved styles. It is difficult to understand why it has been united with Ranunculus pulchellus C.A. Mey. by Hooker f. & Thomson as well as by the later authors. It is probably closely related to that species.
A specimen collected by Giles (no. 255, Gilgit, Dorah Pass 12-13000') has erroneously been identified as Ranunculus paucidentatus Schrenk. Comparison of isotypes of both species showed that they have sheathing radical leaves without blades and sericeous long, soft hairs. The number of carpels is much smaller in Ranunculus paucidentatus, the achenes are densely covered with long hairs in this species, glabrous or pubescent in Ranunculus membrananceus. Ranunculus membranaceus is also a low, more densely tufted plant.
Found in high dry areas up to 3600 m.