Comarum palustre L.
marsh cinquefoil (purple marshlocks)
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Larry Halverson     (Photo ID #46892)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Comarum palustre
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Perennial herb from a long-creeping, often floating, somewhat woody rhizome; stems prostrate to ascending, 20-100 cm long/tall, smooth and frequently reddish below, becoming hairy and glandular above.
Alternate, deciduous, lower ones pinnately compound; leaflets 5 to 7, oblong, 2-8 cm long, coarsely saw-toothed, light green and smooth to sparsely hairy above, paler, glaucous and hairy beneath; upper leaves smaller; base of the leaf-stalks and stipules sheathing the stem.
Inflorescence a loose terminal cluster of few to several (or many) stalked flowers, the stalks glandular-hairy; corollas reddish-purple, saucer-shaped, about 2 cm across, the petals 5, lance-ovate to elliptic, 3-5 mm long; calyces glandular and hairy, 5-lobed, the lobes lance-egg-shaped, 7-15 mm long, spreading, enlarging and ascending in fruit, alternating with 5 narrower, shorter bractlets; ovaries superior; stamens about 25, purple.
Achenes, numerous, plumply egg-shaped, smooth, brownish-purple, about 1.5 mm long.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


Ecological Framework for Comarum palustre

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)
982 0 2095
Slope Gradient (%)
0 0 100

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

1 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
7 0 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

AT(1), BAFA(3), BG(3), BWBS(72), CDF(17), CWH(74), ESSF(139), ICH(217), IDF(59), MH(3), MS(109), SBPS(79), SBS(402), SWB(5)

Habitat and Range

Marshes, fens, bogs, lake margins and wet meadows in the lowland and montane zones; common throughout BC; circumboreal, N to AK, E to NF and S to NJ, WY and N CA; Greenland, Eurasia.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Potentilla palustris (L.) Scop.
Potentilla palustris var. parvifolia (Raf.) Fernald & Long
Potentilla palustris var. villosa (Pers.) Lehm.