1. Potentilla anserina Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 495. 1753.
Argentina anserina (Linnaeus) Rydberg
Basal leaves: petiole (0.5–)1–15(–25) cm, long hairs absent or sparse to dense, 1.5–3.5 mm; larger leaflets (0.4–)0.5–5(–7) × (0.2–)0.3–2(–3) cm, surfaces: abaxial with long hairs absent or sparse to abundant, not restricted to veins, 0.5–2(–2.5) mm, cottony-crisped hairs usually dense or usually absent (in subsp. groenlandica), adaxial with long hairs absent or sparse to abundant, cottony-crisped hairs usually absent, sometimes sparse to common (especially subsp. yukonensis). Flowers: epicalyx bractlets narrowly to broadly ovate-triangular or linear to elliptic, (2–)2.5–7(–8) × (0.3–)0.5–3(–3.5) mm, often 2-fid or dentate; sepals (3–)3.5–7(–9) mm, apex subacute to acuminate; petals (4–)5–15(–20) × (2.5–)3–10(–12) mm; filaments (1–)2.5–3.5(–4.5) mm, anthers 0.7–1.3 mm; carpels (10–)20–200(–250). Achenes 2 mm.
Subspecies 4 or 5 (4 in the flora): North America, Mexico, South America (Argentina, Chile), Eurasia, Pacific Islands (New Guinea, New Zealand), s Australia.
Potentilla anserina is polymorphic in most features, especially in hairiness, but also in size and in degree of dissection of leaflets, epicalyx bractlets, and sepals. While most of the variation described by A. G. Blytt (1906) is taxonomically insignificant, A. Rousi (1965) found support for three northern races: subspp. anserina, egedei, and pacifica. He also suggested that P. yukonensis Hultén might qualify as a separate subspecies. This treatment follows J. Soják (1994) in accepting four northern subspecies of P. anserina, all present in North America.
A. Rousi (1965) demonstrated partial interfertility between the races of Potentilla anserina, which form intermediates in all zones of contact. The distinctness of the four races, in spite of intermediates, is upheld by being partly allopatric and occupying different habitats where they are sympatric. As partly interfertile parapatric entities, they are best treated as subspecies.
The vast majority of chromosome counts are tetraploid. Tetraploid plants (2n = 28) are fully fertile; hexaploids (2n = 42) are largely pollen and seed sterile; pentaploids (2n = 35) are probably occasional hybrids (S. Erlandsson 1942, 1942b; A. Rousi 1965). A. Kurtto et al. (in J. Jalas et al. 1972+, vol. 13) considered numbers above tetraploid level as cases of occasional autopolyploidy.