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any of 100 or more species of showy, poisonous, perennial herbs of the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae). They occur in the North Temperate Zone, usually in partial shade and in rich soil. The roots are thick or tuberous and the leaves have fingerlike lobes. The hood-shaped flowers, borne mostly in spikelike clusters, are usually purple or blue, sometimes yellow or white. There are five sepals and two to five petals.