Potentilla ambigua Cambess.
Perennial, herbs or undershrubs. Rootstock thick. Basal stem partly subterranean ± woody, covered with remains of dead stipules and leaf bases. Floral stem terminal, 4-15 cm., herbaceous, generally prostrate, rarely ascending, densely pilose. Leaves ternate, petioles 2-4 cm. long, pilose. Basal stipules semi-membranous, ovate, upper green and ovate, entire or incised. Leaflets 0.7-1.1 (-1.8) x 0.4-1.0 (-1.7) cm., ± equal in length and breadth or middle a little longer, broadly obovate-cuneate, coriaceous, generally 3-toothed with a narrower middle tooth, middle leaflet with a 1-2 mm. petiolule, lateral leaflets sessile, adpressed pilose above and below. Flowers generally solitary, rarely in twos, 1.6-2.3 cm. across, pedicels 1-2 cm. long, densely pilose. sepals adpressed pilose, outer 4-6 mm. long, elliptic, entire or divided, inner longer, ovate. Petals 8-9 mm. long and broad, suborbicular, yellow. stamens about 20. Receptacle densely sericeous. Carpels many, styles lateral, very long (4.5-5.0 mm.), filiform, very thin, stigma dilated. Achenes concealed in c. 4 mm. long dense sericeous hairs.
Type: Sikkim, 2,745-4,575 m. sine lect s. n. (BOLO – destroyed in world war). Iconotype Bertol. l. c. t 2 (Dickshit & Panigrahi l. c. 67).
B-6 Chitral, Drosh, Madaklasht, beside stream bank, 2689 m Haidar Ali 1166 (KUH), B-8 Kashmir, Kolohoi Valley, c. 12,000 ft., O. Polunin 56/584 (BM), Aliabad, ± 9,500 ft., C.B. Clarke 28630 (BM), Sind Valley near Battal, ± 10,000 ft., J .F. Duthie 27-6-1892 (E), Ladakh, B-9 16 km. W. of Zuildo, Southampton University Expedition 168 (K), Lingti Plain (Ladakh), ± 15,000 ft., R.E. Cooper & A.K. Bulley 5425 (B), Pir Panjal, ± 10,000ft. J. R. Drummond 13938 (K), Pahlgam on East Lidder River, F.G. Dickison 675 (MICH), Kishtwar, Triloknath up to the Kah Pass, 24 to 27 June 1856, no collector (S), C-7 Mansehra Dist., Kaghan Valley, Paya, ± 3,000 m., Muqarrab Shah & Jamshed 65 (ABD).
Distribution: Pakistan, Kashmir, India (Garhwal, Kumaon, Lahul), Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and China (Xizang).
Generally found on grassy slopes on open hillsides between 3,000 and 4,000 m. Common in central and northern Kashmir, rare in Pakistan.
Potentilla ambigua Cambess. (1844) non Gaud. (1828) is an illegitimate name because Potentilla cuneata was partly taken as a synonym of Potentilla ambigua which belongs to the genus Sibbaldia L. The proper name should be Potentilla cuneifolia Bert. (1863), that being the next valid name (cf. Sojak, 1969). The species resembles the genus Sibbaldia in the trifoliate leaves and shape and texture of the leaflets (broadly obovate, tridentate and coriaceous). It is, however, readily distinguished by its numerous carpels and stamens, large suborbicular petals, very long, filiform styles and densely sericeous achenes.
Chaoluan, Ikeda & Ohba (in Zhengyi & P. H. Raven, Fl. China 9: 296. 2003) have adopted Potentilla cuneata Wall. ex Lehm.