Coptis aspleniifolia Salisb.
spleenwort-leaved goldthread (fernleaf goldthread; fern-leaved goldthread)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© krista kaptein     (Photo ID #43679)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Coptis aspleniifolia
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Perennial herb from a yellow to pale brown rhizome; stems erect, 8-12 cm tall in flower, to 35 cm tall in fruit, smooth.
Evergreen, all basal, stalked, 4-17 cm long, 2- or 3-times pinnately compound, occasionally twice 3-parted, the 5 or more leaflets short- to long-stalked, 2-6 cm long, egg-shaped, deeply lobed or incised, toothed.
Inflorescence a 2- or 3-flowered cyme, the flowers nodding; bracts minute; flower stalks 1-4 cm long; petals 5-7, shorter than sepals, clawed, linear-lanceolate, bent back, flattened, nectary on inside surface near base; sepals 5-7, pale greenish-white, bent back and ascending, linear-lanceolate, 6-15 mm long, 0.3-1 mm wide; stamens 9-15.
Follicles, 6 to 10, oblong, 7-10 mm long, spreading on stalks equal to or longer than fruit; beaks curved back, less than 1 mm long; seeds dark, ellipsoid, shiny, about 2 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 Coptis aspleniifolia

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)
373 0 1443
Slope Gradient (%)
25 0 350

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

1 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 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(1), CMA(3), CWH(1078), MH(208), SBS(3), SWB(3)

Habitat and Range

Moist to wet forests and bogs in the lowland and montane zones; common W of the Coast-Cascade Mountains in BC; N to SW AK and S to N WA.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia