Potentilla villosa

Today’s photograph for the “Plants of the North” series is courtesy of Chris Czajkowski. Local readers will likely be familiar with Chris from her books, but she also operates an eco-tourism business at Nuk Tessli. I’m going to guess that today’s image is likely the first one sent to me for BPotD via solar-powered satellite Internet! Thank you, Chris!

I’m always intrigued by a mystery. While Potentilla villosa or alpine cinquefoil is reported throughout British Columbia (and parts of Washington) as well as into Alaska and northeastern Asia, that information doesn’t quite jibe with a recent re-examination of the genus Potentilla. In “The Potentilla villosauniflora Group in northwestern North America” (published in Botanical Electronic News 390), authors Elven and Murray describe the distribution of this species as:

“Potentilla villosa is distinctly coastal with very few records above 50 msm, and it is apparently without a preference for base-rich substrates. The southernmost occurrences are in northwestern Washington, the northernmost in western Alaska south of Seward Peninsula. It is much more restricted in the north than mapped by Hultén (1968).

So, it seems like changes are afoot and the plants in this population of Potentilla may one day have a different name (and as an aside to Chris: now that I’ve seen the article by Elven and Murray, I suggest you send them your photograph of that mystery Potentilla you found!).

Potentilla villosa

8 responses to “Potentilla villosa”

  1. vicki t.

    Beautiful picture. I followed the links to Chris C’s book page and found them quite intriguing. May have to pick one or 2 of them up. Thanks again for the beautiful and fascinating pictures each day. I love this! vicki

  2. Meg Bernstein

    What a wonderful photograph!

  3. elizabeth a airhart

    lovely happy yellow el. atlas plants of bc is a
    source of information and has a botanical drawing
    i would like to read books by chris also
    thank you the far north is full of lovely tribes

  4. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    What a beautiful little flower.
    And what a life this woman, Chris, has led!

  5. Margeret

    Thank you for sharing such a lovely Potentilla,
    and the lichen community is also interesting.

  6. Noel Burdette

    The natural world never fails to amaze me! Thank you for sharing this little treasure with us!

  7. Bonnie

    That reminds me of a tiny little flower we called butter cups when I was a child. Wasn’t this one of course as I grew up in PA. 🙂

  8. Andy MacKinnon

    Indeed a beautiful photo.
    I have read several of Chris’ books and highly encourage others to do so – they’re inspiring tales from an amazing woman.

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