Rosaceae tribe Potentilleae


Brit. Fl. Gard. 2: sub plate 124. 1825.

Treatment appears in FNA Volume 9. Treatment on page 119. Mentioned on page 22, 23, 120, 122, 301.

Herbs, perennial, rarely annual or biennial, shrubs, or subshrubs; unarmed. Leaves alternate, rarely opposite, pinnately (palmately) compound (simple in Alchemilla, Aphanes, and Chamaerhodos); stipules persistent (absent in Chamaerhodos), adnate to petiole; venation pinnate or palmate. Flowers: perianth and androecium perigynous; epicalyx bractlets present, sometimes absent; hypanthium usually patelliform, cupulate, or campanulate, sometimes turbinate, saucer-shaped, flat-bottomed, or subglobose to ellipsoid or ovoid; torus flat to conic or turbinate, enlarged (absent or reduced in Alchemilla, Aphanes, and Chamaerhodos); carpels 1–260, styles basal or lateral to subterminal, distinct; ovules 1(or 2), basal. Fruits aggregated achenes (achenes in Alchemilla and Aphanes); torus sometimes fleshy; styles deciduous or persistent, not elongate.


North America, Mexico, West Indies, Bermuda, Central America, South America, Eurasia, Africa, Atlantic Islands, Pacific Islands, Australia.


Genera 14–22, species ca. 860 (14 genera, 189 species, including 1 hybrid, in the flora area).

The base chromosome number for Potentilleae is mostly x = 7 (8 in Alchemilla and Aphanes; 14 in Comarum).

Variation in the number of genera recognized in Potentilleae is due to differences in generic delimitation between D. Potter et al. (2007) and the authors of Potentilla and segregates here (see 9. Ivesia and 8. Potentilla for discussion). In the former, Duchesnea, Horkelia, Horkeliella, and Ivesia are included within Potentilla. Likewise, Aphanes is included within Alchemilla by Potter et al. while it is kept distinct here.

Potentilla and its segregates and Fragaria are host to Phragmidium rusts, but not the other genera of the tribe.


1 Shrubs; leaf lobe margins entire; achenes hirsute. Dasiphora
1 Herbs, perennial, sometimes annual or biennial, or subshrubs; leaf lobe margins or apices ± toothed, sometimes entire; achenes glabrous (sometimes ± hairy) > 2
2 Petals 0, sepals 4; achenes 1, enclosed in dry, urceolate or subglobose to ellipsoid or ovoid hypanthia > 3
2 Petals and sepals usually 5; achenes 1–260, usually aggregated (sometimes on elongating tori), usually in (± open) patelliform, cupulate, campanulate, or turbinate hypanthia (not enclosed in dry hypanthium) > 4
3 Herbs perennial; leaves basal, blades reniform to orbiculate, palmately lobed, sometimes palmately compound; stamens 4. Alchemilla
3 Herbs annual; leaves cauline, blades cuneate, deeply divided into segments, each lobed; stamen 1(or 2). Aphanes
4 Leaves all or mostly basal or proximal (if cauline, deeply pinnatifid), ternate or 2–4-ternate (sometimes simple and coarsely toothed apically in Sibbaldia) > 5
4 Leaves basal or cauline, the latter usually reduced distally, odd-pinnate to palmate, rarely ternate or ± bipinnate > 9
5 Tori becoming red and fleshy in fruit; leaf margins serrate to crenate > 6
5 Tori hemispheric (not enlarged or fleshy) in fruit or absent; leaf margins entire or (2–)3(–5)-toothed apically > 7
6 Leaves ± doubly serrate or crenate; stolons leafy; inflorescences: flowers solitary, axillary at stolon nodes; petals yellow. Duchesnea
6 Leaves serrate to crenate; stolons not leafy; inflorescences 1–10-flowered, cymes, axillary from leaf rosettes; petals usually white. Fragaria
7 Leaves pinnately compound or simple and deeply pinnatifid, margins entire, stipules absent. Chamaerhodos
7 Leaves ternate, margins toothed apically, stipules persistent > 8
8 Petals ± yellow; stamens 5. Sibbaldia
8 Petals usually white; stamens 20(–30). Sibbaldiopsis
9 Petals deep red to purple, rarely pink, shorter than sepals; tori enlarged and spongy at maturity; horizontal stems sometimes floating, wetland habitats. Comarum
9 Petals yellow to white, rarely pink or red (then equal to or longer than sepals); tori not enlarged and spongy at maturity; stems erect to decumbent, not horizontal or floating even if in wetlands > 10
10 Anthers dehiscing by continuous marginal slit (with a single theca); styles sub-basal. Drymocallis
10 Anthers dehiscing longitudinally; styles subterminal to lateral > 11
11 Hypanthium patelliform to campanulate or cupulate to turbinate (not flat-bottomed); filaments not forming tube; petals white to yellow, sometimes reddish or pink tinged > 12
11 Hypanthium ± cupulate or bluntly campanulate and flat-bottomed; filaments forming tube; petals usually white, sometimes pink-tinged, rose-veined, or cream > 13
12 Plants not aromatic; leaves ± cordate or reniform to narrowly elliptic in outline, leaflets 3–15(–41); petals oblanceolate or obovate to obcordate to nearly round, rarely elliptic; carpels 3–260. Potentilla
12 Plants often aromatic; leaves planar to cylindric, leaflets (3–)7–161; petals linear or narrowly oblanceolate to obovate, sometimes obcordate; carpels 1–20(–40). Ivesia
13 Stamens 10; leaflets (3–)5–41. Horkelia
13 Stamens 20; leaflets 30–70. Horkeliella
Luc Brouillet +
North America +, Mexico +, West Indies +, Bermuda +, Central America +, South America +, Eurasia +, Africa +, Atlantic Islands +, Pacific Islands +  and Australia. +
Brit. Fl. Gard. +
keck1938a +, rydberg1898a +  and sojak2008a +
Rosaceae tribe Potentilleae +
Rosaceae subfam. Rosoideae +