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

Potentilla diversifolia Lehm.
diverse-leaved cinquefoil (blue-leaved cinquefoil; varileaf cinquefoil)
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #21019)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Potentilla diversifolia
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a short stout rhizome and branched stem-base; stems slender, usually several, tufted, spreading to erect, 10-40 cm tall, smooth toward the base, appressed-hairy above.
Basal leaves long-stalked, palmately or pinnately compound; leaflets 5 to 7, oblong-lanceolate to egg-shaped, 1-3 (5) cm long, strongly toothed mostly above the middle, greenish or often glaucous blue-green and smooth to slightly hairy on the upper surface, generally appressed-hairy beneath; stem leaves alternate, 1 or 2.
Inflorescence an open terminal cluster of few to several (less than 20) stalked flowers; corollas yellow, bowl-shaped, the petals 5, heart-shaped, 5-10 mm long, shallowly notched at the tip; calyces silky-long-hairy, 5-lobed, the lobes lance-triangular, 4-7 mm long, alternating with 5 shorter, narrowly lanceolate bractlets; ovaries superior; stamens 20.
Achenes, numerous, clustered, lopsided-egg-shaped, about 1.5 mm long, brown, smooth to faintly net-veined.
Two varieties occur in BC. These varieties appear to hybridize freely in SE BC, where numerous intermediates occur.

1. Leaves primarily palmately compound; leaflets deeply toothed; the common variety...................... var. diversifolia

1. Leaves more or less pinnately compound; leaflets dissected to base; plants of SE and SC BC, rare....................... var. perdissecta (Rydb.) C.L. Hitchc.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present over the Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry meadows, tundra, rocky slopes, gravel bars, grasslands and open forests in the montane to alpine zones; common throughout BC, except rare on the coast; N to S AK and YT; E to SK and S to UT, NM and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Potentilla diversifolia

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




Elevation (metres) 7 1978 3000
Slope Gradient (%) 0 25 300
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 176 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(221), BAFA(212), BWBS(1), CMA(2), ESSF(569), ICH(1), IDF(4), IMA(80), MH(3), MS(52), PP(1), SBPS(1), SBS(11), SWB(27)


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

Potentilla diversifolia subsp. glaucophylla (Lehm.) Lehm.
Potentilla diversifolia var. glaucophylla (Lehm.) S. Watson
Potentilla glaucophylla Lehm.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References