Potentilla dilemma

23 posts / 0 new
Last post
cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03
Potentilla dilemma

I have a Potentilla in my garden which I collected in B.C. when I was in my teens, and grew in my rock garden for a few years till I left home; when I moved back, there was no sign of the plant (or most others of course, with a couple decades of neglect--it was mostly weeds, grass and native plants grown in), but after I redug parts of the garden, it reappeared presumably from seed..I'd been trying to figure out what it was, unsuccessfully, and finally did, today--only to realise its P recta (one reason I did not consider this is that Royer/Dickinson show a bright yellow flower, and mine is much more of a creamy yellow)-- a problem invasive in B.C.! Its Alberta status is a little unclear to me--certainly I have never seen pale flowered plants like mine, though they may exist elsewhere in the province, if it can have strong yellow flowers then it would be harder to separate from native species....

Anyway, my dilemma is-- should I dispose of the several plants I have? Or keep it, watchfully... the fact that it died out except for in ground seed when the rock garden became overgrown suggests that it may not be able to compete with the local vegetation.... I was thinking it was biennial (recta is supposed to be perennial), will have to watch more closely, but I have not found any other species with the pale yellow flowers.... If someone can name it as something other than recta that would be cool too ;D

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Cohan, here Potentilla recta is one of my favorite tolerated weeds, not-overly-aggressive, one that I allow on the borders of my property as I love the largish flowers of a "soft moonlight yellow" color.  As far as I'm aware, it is always that soft luminous yellow, which I have a soft spot for, a cooling vision on hot summer days.  This plant is an alien from Eurasia.  As I've frequently encountered this plant in New England, eastern USA, it is always the same color, a light pale yellow.  Here's a link that shows the color:http://www.missouriplants.com/Yellowalt/Potentilla_recta_page.html

I do notice when "googling around", that some sources have misidentified plants listed as P. recta, such as with B&T World that describes the flowers as cream-yellow, then shows a picture of a completely different densely-flowered bright yellow Potentilla.

On this page, for a county in Washington State, it is listed as a noxious weed.  I wouldn't consider it a noxious weed here.http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/animalsAndPlants/noxious-weeds/wee...

This site gives more comprehensive coverage of the species, again, describing in more detail the serious invasive threat it poses particularly in the Pacific Northwest; here's an except: "Potentilla recta, an herbaceous forb native to Eurasia, is well established throughout much of the United States and Canada, and is found in a wide range of natural and agricultural habitats. It is particularly problematic in the drier climates of the Pacific and inland Northwest where it invades grassland and open-forest communities and displaces native vegetation. Of particular concern is the impact of P. recta on native Potentilla species in the Pacific Northwest. A single plant can produce thousands of seeds annually which allows for its rapid spread."http://wiki.bugwood.org/Potentilla_recta

Mark McDonough Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5 antennaria at aol.com  

cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03
McDonough wrote:

Cohan, here Potentilla recta is one of my favorite tolerated weeds, not-overly-aggressive, one that I allow on the borders of my property as I love the largish flowers of a "soft moonlight yellow" color.  As far as I'm aware, it is always that soft luminous yellow, which I have a soft spot for, a cooling vision on hot summer days.  This plant is an alien from Eurasia.  As I've frequently encountered this plant in New England, eastern USA, it is always the same color, a light pale yellow.  Here's a link that shows the color:http://www.missouriplants.com/Yellowalt/Potentilla_recta_page.html

I do notice when "googling around", that some sources have misidentified plants listed as P. recta, such as with B&T World that describes the flowers as cream-yellow, then shows a picture of a completely different densely-flowered bright yellow Potentilla.

On this page, for a county in Washington State, it is listed as a noxious weed.  I wouldn't consider it a noxious weed here.http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/animalsAndPlants/noxious-weeds/wee...

This site gives more comprehensive coverage of the species, again, describing in more detail the serious invasive threat it poses particularly in the Pacific Northwest; here's an except: "Potentilla recta, an herbaceous forb native to Eurasia, is well established throughout much of the United States and Canada, and is found in a wide range of natural and agricultural habitats. It is particularly problematic in the drier climates of the Pacific and inland Northwest where it invades grassland and open-forest communities and displaces native vegetation. Of particular concern is the impact of P. recta on native Potentilla species in the Pacific Northwest. A single plant can produce thousands of seeds annually which allows for its rapid spread."http://wiki.bugwood.org/Potentilla_recta

Thanks, Mark--I sort of was thinking similarly--that it was probably a bigger problem in drier areas.. thus far there has never been a seedling outside of cultivated soil...

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

I have Potentilla recta too and it seeds pretty freely; nice in the right spot. Here it is with Digitalis parviflora.

Dr. Timothy John Ingram Faversham, Kent, UK I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.  

cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

Nice vignette, Tim! Mine have never made large multistemmed plants so far.. I really feel like they have been acting biennial/monocarpic, but can't say I have closely enough tracked the few plants I have

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

I decided in the end I will get rid of it... it might be different if I were in an urban area, but here in the country, the risk is too great that I might transfer seeds to a pasture, field or roadside (eg--walking around the yard, then going for a walk or bike ride into the bush or down the road, seeds could easily be tracked on shoes/boots) and perhaps establish the plant in an open area where it would be too successful...On the plus side, I think there is a plant of P gracilis just outside my property, and I will collect some seeds or divisions (I say think because I'm not sure if there is any sp that could be confused with it..)

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Kelaidis
Kelaidis's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03

I hope you didn't remove your potentilla: I believe you might have actually had P. concinna, which is usually a paler color.

Most of those "weed" lists are rather subjective, and all are highly local in their relevance. One man's weed is another man's treasure. The fanatacism of the invasivists is ultimately self defeating.

I have grown Potentilla recta over the years in quite a few gardens in Colorado (a climate not unlike Alberta): I do not think it is one tenth as invasive as Potentilla argentea, for instance. Like I said, take those lists with a giant grain of salt!

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

Anonymous
Title: Guest

"The fanaticism of the invasivists is ultimately self defeating."

That comment seems rather disrespectful to the people who work tirelessly to preserve our natural heritage.  Certain species do displace native ecosystems.  Controlling these species is the only way to preserve these irreplaceable treasures.  Invasive species are causing huge economic losses too.

We all need to be responsible and take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of these highly damaging species.  It is not only what is best for our economy and environment, it is also in our own best interest too.

James

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

I imagine the height alone would help to distinguish whether it is/was P. concinna or P. recta, no?  P. concinna is a very compact little thing around here where it grows out in the grasslands (under 10cm according to Flora of Alberta).

Lori Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3 -30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Kelaidis
Kelaidis's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03

Potentilla concinna in my experience can be 10-15" tall...

I am sorry if I offended you, Jim, with my pointed remark about "nativists": it is an unattractive epithet, but blaming horticulture for weeds is like blaming kids who shoot cap guns for Mexican gang warfare: the relationship is tenuous in the extreme. So called "invasives" are just weeds, and they are due to massive disturbance by farming, mining, urban and suburban development. Horticulture is the solution to weeds, not the cause. I believe that many in the Environmental movement have chosen the path of righteousness over effectiveness and the wellsprings of the movement lie more with Calvinism than with the truth. The proof is that they have taken on innocent gardeners rather than those really causing the problem. I assume most rock gardeners get this, but I was obviously wrong! the last thing I want to do is be righteous about weeds and their unwitting codependents: the nativists! I hate 'em more than anyone (the weeds that is: I just am annoyed with the people!). Hope this makes a tad more sense?

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

There are fanatics in every genre.  I think there is extra terrestrial intelligent life, but I don't believe a tin foil hat will save me. 

No one here denies that certain invasive species do displace native flora, fauna and ecosystems.  Most (if not all) of us have examples of it in our own nearby wild lands.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Pages

Log in or register to post comments