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

Potentilla biennis Greene
biennial cinquefoil
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Curtis Bjork  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #16549)

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Distribution of Potentilla biennis
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Species Information

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Annual or biennial herb from a taproot; stems mostly single, ascending to erect, 10-60 cm tall, leafy, densely covered with mixed fine and thicker glandular hairs.
Basal leaves few, stalked, palmately compound; leaflets 3, egg-shaped to lanceolate, 1-5 cm long, coarsely blunt-toothed, fine-hairy and glandular-hairy; stem leaves alternate, similar, several, reduced upward.
Inflorescence a spreading, leafy-bracted, terminal cluster of several to many stalked flowers; corollas yellow, cup-shaped, the petals 5, spoon-shaped, about 1/2 the length of the calyx-lobes; calyces glandular-hairy and appressed-hairy, 5-lobed, the lobes triangular-egg-shaped, 2-4 mm long, alternating with 5 narrower shorter bractlets; ovaries superior, the styles thickened at the base; stamens 10 or 15.
Achenes, numerous, clustered, lopsided-egg-shaped, about 0.8 mm long, yellow, smooth.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist meadows and waste places in the steppe and montane zones; infrequent in C and SC BC; E to SK and S to CO, AZ, CA and MX.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References