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

Potentilla norvegica L.
Norwegian cinquefoil (rough cinquefoil)
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Allan Carson  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #25967)

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Distribution of Potentilla norvegica
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Species Information

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Annual to biennial herb from a taproot; stems erect to ascending, 10-80 cm tall, sometimes branched above, leafy, coarsely stiff-spreading-hairy with often pustular-based hairs, often reddish.
Basal leaves few, long-stalked, palmately compound; leaflets 3, egg-shaped to oblong, 1-6 (8) cm long, coarsely round-toothed, coarse-hairy on both surfaces, paler beneath; stem leaves alternate, similar, several.
Inflorescence a compact, leafy-bracted, terminal cluster of several to many stalked flowers; corollas yellow or whitish-yellow, saucer-shaped, the petals 5, broadly egg-shaped, shorter than the calyx-lobes; calyces hairy, 5-lobed, the lobes lanceolate, 4-6 mm long, alternating with 5 narrower bractlets about the same length as the calyx-lobes; ovaries superior, the styles thickened at the base; stamens usually 20.
Achenes, numerous, clustered, lopsided-egg-shaped, about 1 mm long, brown, strongly wavy-wrinkled.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet meadows, clearings, roadsides, waste places and burns in the lowland to montane zones; common throughout BC, except rare north of 55degreeN (probably introduced along the coast); circumboreal, N to AK, E to NF and S to NC, TX and CA; Greenland, Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Potentilla norvegica

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) 450 1109 1657
Slope Gradient (%) 0 5 95
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
20 7 320
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(3), BWBS(1), ESSF(6), ICH(2), IDF(1), MS(1), PP(1), SBPS(7), SBS(5), SWB(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 monspeliensis L.
Potentilla norvegica subsp. hirsuta (Michx.) Hyl.
Potentilla norvegica var. hirsuta (Michx.) Lehm.
Potentilla norvegica var. labradorica (Lehm.) Fernald

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References