8r. Potentilla Linnaeus sect. Aureae (Rydberg) Juzepczuk in V. L. Komarov et al., Fl. URSS. 10: 197. 1941.
Reidar Elven, Barbara Ertter, David F. Murray, James L. Reveal
Potentilla [unranked] Aureae Rydberg, Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 23: 394. 1896; Potentilla ser. Aureae (Rydberg) T. T. Yü & C. L. Li; Potentilla sect. Frigidae (Rydberg) O. Stevens
Perennials, tufted to cushion-forming or matted, rarely rosetted, not stoloniferous (except sometimes P. verna); taproots not fleshy-thickened; vestiture primarily of straight hairs, not differentiated into long and short, glands absent or sparse to abundant, sometimes red (P. hyparctica). Stems usually ascending to erect, sometimes prostrate to decumbent or spreading, not flagelliform, not rooting at nodes (except P. verna), lateral to persistent basal rosettes, 0.1–2(–3) dm, lengths 1–3(–4) times basal leaves. Leaves: basal sometimes 2-ranked; cauline 0–2(–3); primary leaves ternate or palmate, (0.5–)1–12(–20) cm; petiole: long hairs absent or spreading to ascending, weak to ± stiff, glands usually absent or sparse, sometimes abundant; leaflets 3–7, at tip of leaf axis, overlapping or not, broadly oblanceolate or obtriangular to flabellate, margins flat to revolute, distal 1/4–3/4+ evenly to unevenly incised 1/4–1/2 to midvein, ˂sometimes 3–5-lobed 1/2–3/4 to midvein as well˃, primary teeth (1–)2–5(–7) per side ˂or per lobe˃, surfaces ± similar, abaxial pale to dark green, rarely grayish, brownish, or reddish, cottony hairs absent, adaxial green to dark green, rarely brownish or reddish, sometimes ± glaucous (P. grayi), long hairs (if present) soft to weak, sometimes stiff. Inflorescences 1–6(–12)-flowered, ± cymose, ± to very open, or solitary flowers. Pedicels usually straight in fruit (often recurved in P. verna), (0–)0.2–3(–9) cm, proximal usually not much longer than distal (sometimes longer in fruit). Flowers 5-merous; hypanthium 2–7 mm diam.; petals pale to dark yellow, mostly ± obcordate (to orbiculate in P. elegans), (2–)3–10(–12) mm, usually longer than sepals, apex usually ± retuse; stamens ca. 20; styles subapical, columnar, filiform, or tapered, not, scarcely, or ± papillate-swollen in proximal 1/5–1/2, 0.8–2.5 mm. Achenes ± smooth.
Species ca. 30 (10 in the flora): North America, Eurasia; reportedly introduced in s Australia.
The circumscription of sect. Aureae used here largely follows that of B. C. Johnston (1985), except that Potentilla sierrae-blancae is placed in sect. Concinnae and P. rubella and P. stipularis are in sect. Chrysanthae. Other treatments (for example, P. A. Rydberg 1908d; T. Wolf 1908) split the species included here in two groups and/or recombine them with species in other sections, notably sect. Ranunculoides (Th. Wolf) Juzepczuk.
Since Potentilla glaucophylla (sect. Graciles) and P. cottamii (sect. Subviscosae) are sometimes identified as members of sect. Aureae, they are included herein and key out in the third and twelfth couplets, respectively.