Valdieri cinquefoil

Potentilla valderia L.

Potentilla valderia | APAM Archive

Appearance

Plant 20-40 cm high, bushy, greenish-blue, almost silvery, with woody rhizome and erect, sturdy, multi-flowered stems. Thick basal leaves, erect, tomentose, often glabrous at the top with 5-7 whole spatulate segments at the bottom and serrated at the top two-thirds with 6-10 serrated notches, with long sericeous petiole. 2-4 alternate cauline leaves decreasing in size upwards with large stipules partially welded to the petiole.
Flowers collected in a dense, compact, multiflora corymbose bud. Calyx with a lower portion grown together with 10 laciniae, arranged in two whorls of 5 laciniae each, the lower or epicalyx with narrow, linear and acute laciniae and the upper one formed by the ovate-lanceolate sepals, wider and longer than the laciniae of the epicalyx, sharpened. Corolla formed by 5 obovate white petals narrow at the base in a short claw, shorter than both sepals and laciniae of the epicalyx. Bristly receptacle, stamens with villous filaments.
The fruits are villous achenes.


Flowering

July-August.


Habitat

Shady cliffs, on siliceous rock, at altitudes from 1300 to 2400 metres (rarely 2800).


Distribution

Sub endemic to the Maritime Alps from M. Tenibres to Limone. Rare. Also present in the nearby French valleys.


Etymology

The genus Potentilla derives its name from the Latin word potens, "powerful" and, through the graceful diminutive, seeks to convey the meaning of a"small plant with a lot of strength". The specific name indicates the centre of its distribution.


Properties and uses

All species of the genus Potentilla have been accredited in the past with medicinal powers. However, while formerly they were given the green light for the most varied and reckless medicinal uses, today only a modest but useful astringent power and a mildly febrifuge action are attributed. The species currently accredited from the herbalists' point of view are currently Potentilla anserina, Potentilla reptans and Potentilla erecta.



Endemism: Endemic species are animals or plants living exclusively in a given territory. When this is very limited, we speak of "restricted" endemisms. "Endemic" is not necessarily synonymous with "rare": rare species may have few individuals distributed over large areas, an endemic species can also be abundant in a given area, but be limited to that single territory.