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

Potentilla recta L.
sulphur cinquefoil
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Robert Flogaus-Faust  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #85584)

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Distribution of Potentilla recta
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a thick, simple to branched stem-base; stems 1 to few, tufted, erect, very leafy, 30-70 cm tall, branched above, with both coarse and fine hairs.
Basal leaves few, long-stalked, palmately compound; leaflets 5 to 7, lanceolate to oblong, 3-10 cm long, deeply saw-toothed, greenish and coarse-hairy on both surfaces, prominently veined beneath; stem leaves alternate, several, similar but shorter-stalked.
Inflorescence an open, flat-topped, terminal cluster of many stalked flowers; corollas pale yellow, bowl-shaped, the petals 5, egg-shaped, about 10 mm long, deeply notched at the tip; calyces glandular and long-hairy, 5-lobed, the lobes lance-egg-shaped, 5-9 mm long, alternating with 5 narrower bractlets about the same length as the calyx-lobes; ovaries superior, the styles glandular-warty and somewhat thickened at the base; stamens 25-30.
Achenes, numerous, clustered, lopsided-egg-shaped, about 1 mm long, brownish, strongly net-veined.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry to moist, disturbed open ground, waste places, roadsides, pastures and overgrazed grasslands in the lowland to steppe zones; common in S BC, especially east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Potentilla recta

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) 380 722 1571
Slope Gradient (%) 0 22 75
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
10 199 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 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), ICH(13), IDF(104), MS(3), PP(13)


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 recta var. obscura (Nestler) W.D.J. Koch
Potentilla recta var. pilosa (Willd.) Ledeb.
Potentilla recta var. sulphurea (Lam. & DC.) Peyr.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References