Sp. Pl. 1: 498. 1753.
Plants openly matted; caudex branches elongate, slender, sometimes rooting at nodes. Stems prostrate to decumbent, rarely weakly erect, 0.3–1.5 dm, lengths 1–2 (–3) times basal leaves. Basal leaves not in ranks, palmate, 2–5 (–10) cm; stipules: apex acuminate to acute, rarely obtuse; petiole 1–6 cm, long hairs common, ascending to appressed, 1–2.5 mm, weak to ± stiff, glands absent or sparse; leaflets 5–7, central oblanceolate to obovate, (0.8–) 1–3 × 0.4–1.5 cm, petiolule 0–2 mm, margins flat, not lobed, distal 1/4–1/2 (–2/3) evenly incised ± 1/3 to midvein, teeth 2–4 (–5) per side, surfaces similar, green, hairs absent especially adaxially or sparse, 0.5–1.5 (–2) mm, glands absent or sparse. Inflorescences 3–5 (–6) -flowered. Pedicels often recurved, 1–3 (–4) cm, not much longer in fruit than in flower. Flowers: epicalyx bractlets lanceolate, 3.5–5 × 1–1.5 mm, margins flat; hypanthium 2–4 mm diam.; sepals 3–5 mm, apex broadly acute to obtuse; petals yellow, 5–8 (–10) × 4–6 mm; filaments 0.8–2 mm, anthers 0.5–0.8 mm; carpels 40–60, styles ± columnar, not papillate-swollen proximally, 1 mm. Achenes 1.5–2 mm. 2n = 28, 35, 42, 49, 56, 63, 70, 84 (Europe).
Phenology: Flowering spring–early summer.
Habitat: Dry roadsides and lawns
Elevation: 0–200 m
Introduced; Ont., Conn., Mich., Minn., Europe
The use of the name Potentilla verna here reflects the successful proposal by J. Soják (2009) to conserve P. verna with a conserved type. Alternatives in recent use include P. neumanniana Reichenbach (misapplied) and P. tabernaemontani. The species has an established horticultural presence, primarily as a ground cover, and is to be expected in North America beyond where reported here.
"dm" is not declared as a valid unit of measurement for this property.