Potentilla anserina

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaRosaceaePotentillaPotentilla anserina


A stoloniferous perennial herb, occurring on dry, damp or periodically inundated soils in open grassy swards or on bare ground. Habitats include land subject to seasonal inundation with fresh or brackish water, upper saltmarsh, shorelines, dunes, rough ground and roadsides. It spreads vigorously by stolons, but fruiting is often poor. Generally lowland, but reaching 580 m at Hartside (Cumberland), and exceptionally at 845 m (Great Dun Fell, Westmorland).



World Distribution

Circumpolar Boreo-temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.

© P. Shannon

Broad Habitats

Neutral grassland (includes coarse Arrhenatherum grassland)

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 7

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 6


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 2

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.6

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1083

Life form information

Height (cm): 25

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Far-creeping by stolons in illuminated medium

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2662

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 973

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 12

Atlas Change Index: -0.23

Weighted Changed Factor: -16

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (121b)
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Weinert E
1965.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.
Miyanishi K, Eriksson O, Wein RW
1991.  The biology of Canadian weeds. 98. Potentilla anserina L. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 71:791-801.
Ockendon DJ, Walters SM
1970.  Studies in Potentilla anserina L. Watsonia. 8:135-144.