E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Petasites frigidus var. palmatus (L.) Fr. (Aiton) Cronquist
sweet coltsfoot (arctic sweet coltsfoot; palmate coltsfoot)
Asteraceae (Aster family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #2505)

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Distribution of Petasites frigidus var. palmatus
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Species Information

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General:
Perennial herb from a creeping root; stems erect, branched above, numerous, more or less white woolly-hairy, with parallel-veined bracts 2.5-6 cm long, reduced upwards, 5-50 cm tall, flowering stems appear before the leaves.
Leaves:
Basal leaves arising directly from the creeping root, triangular to heart-shaped on long stalks, shallowly to palmately lobed or toothed, white-woolly to nearly glabrous beneath, green and somewhat hairy above, 4-50 cm long; stem leaves alternate, reduced, represented by parallel-veined bracts 1-6 cm long, more or less white woolly-hairy.
Flowers:
Heads disciform or with ray and disk flowers, several to many in a round- to flat-topped inflorescence, stalks glandular and white-woolly; involucres 6-15 mm tall; involucral bracts oblanceolate to lanceolate, pointed, hairy basally with multicellular hairs, the crosswalls often purple, margins translucent, tips fine-hairy; ray flowers few, whitish or pinkish; disk flowers whitish.
Fruits:
Achenes 5-10-ribbed, glabrous, rarely sparsely long-hairy, 3-4.5 mm; pappus of numerous white, hairlike bristles.
Notes:
Three varieties occur in BC.

1. Leaves merely coarsely toothed or shallowly and obscurely lobed; plants of the subalpine and alpine zones........................ var. frigidus

1. Leaves conspicuously lobed; plants of the lowland to alpine zones.

2. Leaves palmately lobed and usually deeply cleft more than 1/2 way to the leaf base, usually broader than long; plants of the lowland and montane zones........................... var. palmatus (Ait.) Cronq.

2. Leaves lobed, sometimes palmately, but usually not cleft more than 1/2 way to the leaf base, usually longer than broad; plants of the subalpine and alpine zones...................... var. nivalis (Greene) Cronq.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Wet to moist ditches, streambanks, meadows and forests in the lowland to alpine zones; var. palmatus is common throughout all BC except the Queen Charlotte Islands and adjacent coast, var. nivalis is common throughout BC, and var. frigidus is frequent in extreme N BC and rare southward; var. palmatus - E to NF and S to MA, MI and CA; var. nivalis - E to PQ and N MN and S to N OR, and var. frigidus - circumboreal, N to AK, YT and NT, Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Ecology

Ecological Framework for Petasites frigidus var. palmatus

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class

Minimum

Average

Maximum

Elevation (metres) 5 969 2500
Slope Gradient (%) 0 8 205
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 355 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 4 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Class
C
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
3259
Modal BEC Zone Class
SBS
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BAFA(2), BWBS(670), CDF(1), CWH(21), ESSF(301), ICH(275), IDF(117), MH(1), MS(259), PP(1), SBPS(191), SBS(1144), SWB(50)

Climate

The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Nardosmia arctica (A.E. Porsild) A. Löve & D. Löve
Petasites arcticus A.E. Porsild
Petasites frigidus subsp. arcticus (A.E. Porsild) Cody
Petasites frigidus subsp. palmatus (Aiton) Cody
Petasites hookerianus (Nutt.) Rydb.
Petasites palmatus (Aiton) A. Gray
Petasites speciosus (Nutt.) Piper

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References