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

Potentilla rivalis Nutt.
brook cinquefoil
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #20308)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Potentilla rivalis
Click here to view our interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Annual to biennial herb from a taproot; stems slender, spreading to ascending, 10-50 cm long/tall, freely branched, leafy, finely spreading- to appressed-hairy or woolly.
Basal leaves few, stalked, palmately compound; leaflets 5, oval to lance-oblong, 1-5 cm long, coarse-toothed, fine-hairy; stem leaves alternate, several, the lower similar to the basal but the upper usually with 3 leaflets.
Inflorescence a spreading, leafy-bracted, terminal cluster of many stalked flowers; corollas yellow, cup-shaped, the petals 5, spoon-shaped, about 2 mm long, about 1/2 the length of the calyx-lobes; calyces soft-hairy, 5-lobed, the lobes triangular-egg-shaped, alternating with 5 longer narrower bractlets; ovaries superior, the styles thickened at the base; stamens 5-15.
Achenes, numerous, clustered, lopsided-egg-shaped, about 0.7 mm long, yellowish-brown, smooth or slightly wrinkled.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet meadows, streambanks, lakeshores, ditches and edges of wetlands in the lowland and montane zones; infrequent in S BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, rare in SW BC (where introduced); E to SK and S to MN, MO, NM and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Potentilla rivalis

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) 1020 1020 1020
Slope Gradient (%) 0 0 0
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
6 6 6
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: SBPS(1)


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 leucocarpa Rydb.
Potentilla millegrana Engelm. ex Lehm.
Potentilla pentandra Engelm.
Potentilla rivalis var. millegrana (Engelm. ex Lehm.) S. Wats.
Potentilla rivalis var. pentandra (Engelm.) S. Wats.
Potentilla rivalis var. rivalis Nutt. [superfluous autonym]

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References