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

Potentilla anserina L.
common silverweed
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #85777)

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Distribution of Potentilla anserina
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a long, strawberry-like stolon or runner, rooting and producing leaf-clusters at the nodes, spreading-silky on the stolons.
All basal, tufted, 5-25 cm long, stalked, ascending, pinnately compound; 7 to 21 main leaflets 0.5-3.5 cm long, interspersed with smaller ones, oblong to egg-shaped, coarsely saw-toothed, whitish-silky-woolly on both surfaces to greenish and sparsely hairy above, the leaf-stalks spreading-silky.
Inflorescence of single flowers on long naked stalks from the leafy nodes of the stolons, the stalks 3-10 cm long; corollas yellow, bowl-shaped, the petals 5, oval to oval-oblong , 6-12 mm long; calyces silky, 5-lobed, the lobes triangular-egg-shaped, 3-6 mm long, enlarging and becoming erect in fruit, alternating with 5 shorter, often toothed bractlets; ovaries superior; stamens 20 to 25.
Achenes, numerous, plumply egg-shaped, about 2 mm long, wrinkled lengthwise.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Margins of streams, lakes and ponds, mudflats, and moist alkaline meadows and grasslands in the montane zone; common in S BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, rare northward; circumboreal, N to AK, E to NF and S to CA, NM, IA and NY; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Potentilla anserina

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) 0 890 1630
Slope Gradient (%) 0 2 40
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 179 355
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 5 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: BG(17), BWBS(2), CDF(1), CWH(7), IDF(108), MS(6), PP(21), SBPS(11), SBS(3)


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

Argentina anserina (L.) Rydb.
Potentilla anserina var. groenlandica Tratt.
Potentilla egedii var. groenlandica (Tratt.) Polunin

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References