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Mountain Sibbaldia

Sibbaldia procumbens

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rosaceae (Rose)
Also in this family:
Acute Leaf-lobed Lady's-mantle, Alpine Cinquefoil, Alpine Lady's-mantle, Ampfield Cotoneaster, Arran Service Tree, Arran Whitebeam, Barren Strawberry, Bastard Agrimony, Bastard Service Tree, Bearberry Cotoneaster, Bird Cherry, Blackthorn, Bloody Whitebeam, Bramble, Bristol Whitebeam, Broad-leaved Whitebeam, Broadtooth Lady's-mantle, Bronze Pirri-pirri-bur, Bullace Plum, Bullate Cotoneaster, Burnet Rose, Catacol Whitebeam, Caucasian Lady's-mantle, Cheddar Whitebeam, Cherry Laurel, Cherry Plum, Chinese Photinia, Cloudberry, Clustered Lady's-mantle, Common Agrimony, Common Hawthorn, Common Lady's-mantle, Common Medlar, Common Ninebark, Common Whitebeam, Crab Apple, Creeping Chinese Bramble, Creeping Cinquefoil, Crimean Lady's-mantle, Cultivated Apple, Cultivated Pear, Cut-leaved Blackberry, Damson, Devon Whitebeam, Dewberry, Diel's Cotoneaster, Dog Rose, Doward Whitebeam, Dropwort, Elm-leaved Bramble, English Whitebeam, Entire-leaved Cotoneaster, False Salmonberry, Field Rose, Firethorn, Fodder Burnet, Fragrant Agrimony, Franchet's Cotoneaster, Garden Lady's-mantle, Garden Strawberry, Giant Meadowsweet, Glaucous Dog Rose, Goatsbeard Spiraea, Gough's Rock Whitebeam, Great Burnet, Greengage Plum, Grey-leaved Whitebeam, Hairless Lady's-mantle, Hairy Lady's-mantle, Hautbois Strawberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Himalayan Cotoneaster, Himalayan Whitebeam, Hoary Cinquefoil, Hollyberry Cotoneaster, Hupeh Rowan, Hybrid Cinquefoil, Hybrid Geum, Irish Whitebeam, Japanese Cherry, Japanese Quince, Japanese Rose, Jew's Mallow, Juneberry, Lancaster Whitebeam, Late Cotoneaster, Least Lady's-mantle, Least Whitebeam, Leigh Woods Whitebeam, Ley's Whitebeam, Liljefor's Whitebeam, Littleleaf Cotoneaster, Llangollen Whitebeam, Llanthony Whitebeam, Lleyn Cotoneaster, Loganberry, Many-flowered Rose, Margaret's Whitebeam, Marsh Cinquefoil, Meadowsweet, Midland Hawthorn, Mougeot's Whitebeam, Mountain Ash, Mountain Avens, Moupin's Cotoneaster, No Parking Whitebeam, Ocean Spray, Orange Whitebeam, Pale Bridewort, Pale Lady's-mantle, Parsley Piert, Pirri-pirri-bur, Plymouth Pear, Portuguese Laurel, Purple-flowered Raspberry, Quince, Raspberry, Rock Cinquefoil, Rock Lady's-mantle, Rock Whitebeam, Round-leaved Dog Rose, Round-leaved Whitebeam, Rum Cherry, Russian Cinquefoil, Salad Burnet, Sargent's Rowan, Scannell's Whitebeam, Service Tree, Sharp-toothed Whitebeam, Sherard's Downy Rose, Shining Lady's-mantle, Ship Rock Whitebeam, Short-styled Rose, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Silver Lady's-mantle, Silverweed, Slender Parsley Piert, Slender-spined Bramble, Small-flowered Sweetbriar, Small-leaved Sweetbriar, Soft Downy Rose, Somerset Whitebeam, Sorbaria, Sour Cherry, Southern Downy Rose, Southern Lady's-mantle, Spineless Acaena, Spring Cinquefoil, St. Lucie's Cherry, Steeplebush, Stern's Cotoneaster, Stirton's Whitebeam, Stone Bramble, Sulphur Cinquefoil, Swedish Service Tree, Swedish Whitebeam, Sweet Briar, Symond's Yat Whitebeam, Tengyueh Cotoneaster, Thimbleberry, Thin-leaved Whitebeam, Tibetan Cotoneaster, Tormentil, Trailing Tormentil, Tree Cotoneaster, Trefoil Cinquefoil, Twin-cliffs Whitebeam, Two-spined Acaena, Wall Cotoneaster, Water Avens, Waterer's Cotoneaster, Waxy Lady's-mantle, Welsh Cotoneaster, Welsh Whitebeam, White Burnet, White's Whitebeam, White-stemmed Bramble, Wild Cherry, Wild Pear, Wild Plum, Wild Service Tree, Wild Strawberry, Willmott's Whitebeam, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wood Avens, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
10 centimetres tall
Gardens, meadows, mountains, rocky places.

Yellow, 5 petals
Pale yellow flowers. Flowers have either 5 or no petals. The flower clusters are situated inside leafy heads. Flowers measure 4 to 5mm across. 5 stamens.
The fruit is shiny brown and roundish, measuring just 1mm across.
A perennial, mat-forming flower which can be found growing high on mountains on bare ground. Mountain Sibbaldia is rarely found below an altitude of 600 metres and is frequently seen growing where snow lies in winter. This is a low-growing, prostrate plant with trefoil leaves. Each of the 3 leaflets is 3-toothed. The leaves are long-stalked and have large stipules.
Other Names:
Creeping Sibbaldia, Procumbent Sibbaldia.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Sibbaldia procumbens is a perennial herb in the Rosaceae family, also known as procumbent sibbaldia or creeping sibbaldia. It is native to the Arctic and alpine regions of Europe, Asia and North America. It is typically found growing in rocky or gravelly soils, in high altitude or high latitudes environments. The plant has small, bright yellow flowers that bloom in the summer and it forms a low-growing, spreading mat. It is used in rock gardens and as a ground cover plant. Sibbaldia procumbens is also considered as an indicator of good quality habitat for some wildlife species and it is used in ecological restoration projects.


Mountain Sibbaldia, also known as Sibbaldia procumbens, is a plant species that is found in the high altitude regions of the Northern Hemisphere. This herbaceous plant belongs to the family Rosaceae and is characterized by its small size, low-growing habit, and distinctive yellow flowers. In this blog, we will explore some of the key features of this plant, as well as its ecological importance and potential uses.

Physical Characteristics

Mountain Sibbaldia is a low-growing plant that typically reaches a height of just 3-10 cm. The leaves are small and rounded, with a dark green color and a slightly waxy texture. The flowers are yellow and have five petals, with a distinctive central boss of stamens. The plant typically flowers in late spring or early summer, with the blooms lasting for several weeks.

Ecological Importance

Mountain Sibbaldia is an important plant in alpine and subalpine ecosystems, where it plays a critical role in stabilizing soil and preventing erosion. The plant's low-growing habit and extensive root system help to anchor the soil, while its leaves and stems help to trap sediment and prevent it from being carried away by wind and water. In addition, the plant provides habitat and food for a variety of insects, including bees, butterflies, and moths.

Potential Uses

Mountain Sibbaldia has a long history of use in traditional medicine, particularly among indigenous communities in northern regions. The plant has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including stomach disorders, respiratory infections, and skin irritations. Some studies have also suggested that the plant may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a potential candidate for future pharmaceutical development.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Mountain Sibbaldia is also used in horticulture, particularly in rock gardens and other alpine plantings. The plant's small size and low-growing habit make it an ideal choice for creating a naturalistic look in these settings, and its distinctive yellow flowers add a pop of color to the landscape.

Mountain Sibbaldia is a small but important plant species that plays a critical role in alpine and subalpine ecosystems. With its low-growing habit, extensive root system, and distinctive yellow flowers, it is a unique and valuable addition to any natural or cultivated landscape. Whether you are interested in the plant's ecological benefits or its potential medicinal uses, Mountain Sibbaldia is a fascinating and valuable species that is well worth exploring in greater detail.

Geographic Distribution

Mountain Sibbaldia is found in high altitude regions across the Northern Hemisphere, including parts of North America, Europe, and Asia. The plant is typically found in rocky or gravelly soils, often in areas that are subject to seasonal snowmelt or other forms of disturbance. In North America, the plant is found in alpine and subalpine regions of the Rocky Mountains, the Cascades, and the Sierra Nevada, as well as in parts of Alaska and Canada.

Cultural Significance

Mountain Sibbaldia has played an important role in the cultural traditions of various indigenous communities in the Northern Hemisphere. For example, the plant was traditionally used by the Dena'ina people of Alaska to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, colds, and sore throats. The plant was also used in ritual and ceremonial contexts, such as during the initiation of young people into adult society. In parts of Europe, the plant has been used in folk medicine to treat wounds and skin irritations, as well as to promote digestion and improve appetite.

Conservation Status

Mountain Sibbaldia is generally considered to be a stable and widespread species, with no significant threats to its survival at the global level. However, in some regions, such as the Alps and the Pyrenees, the plant may be vulnerable to habitat loss and fragmentation due to human activities, such as tourism, agriculture, and infrastructure development. In addition, the plant's sensitivity to climate change and other forms of environmental stress may make it more vulnerable to local extirpation in some areas.

Mountain Sibbaldia is a small but ecologically and culturally significant plant species that is found in high altitude regions across the Northern Hemisphere. Whether you are interested in the plant's medicinal properties, its role in stabilizing soil and preventing erosion, or its cultural significance, Mountain Sibbaldia is a fascinating and valuable species that deserves greater attention and study.


Mountain Sibbaldia is part of the Rosaceae family, which also includes other well-known plants such as roses, strawberries, and apples. Within the Rosaceae family, Mountain Sibbaldia is part of the subfamily Rosoideae, which includes many herbaceous and shrubby species. The genus Sibbaldia, which includes just two species, is named in honor of Scottish botanist Robert Sibbald, who lived in the 17th century.


Mountain Sibbaldia is a diploid plant, meaning it has two sets of chromosomes. The plant's flowers are protogynous, which means that the stigma matures before the anthers, preventing self-fertilization. The flowers are pollinated by a variety of insects, including bees and flies. The plant's fruits are achenes, which are small, dry, and single-seeded.

Uses in Landscaping

Mountain Sibbaldia is a popular plant for alpine and rock gardens, where its small size and low-growing habit make it an ideal choice for creating a naturalistic look. The plant is well-suited for areas with well-drained, sandy or gravelly soil, and can be used as a groundcover or accent plant. Mountain Sibbaldia also pairs well with other alpine plants, such as dwarf conifers, saxifrages, and dwarf sedums.

Potential Ecological Benefits

Mountain Sibbaldia may have potential ecological benefits beyond its ability to stabilize soil and prevent erosion. Some studies have suggested that the plant may have allelopathic effects, which means that it produces chemicals that can inhibit the growth of neighboring plants. This could potentially make the plant a useful tool for weed control in certain settings. Additionally, the plant's root system may have soil-improving properties, such as enhancing nutrient cycling and soil aeration.

In summary, Mountain Sibbaldia is a unique and valuable plant species that offers many potential benefits for ecological restoration, landscaping, and traditional medicine. As more research is conducted on the plant's biology and potential uses, it may become an increasingly important species for conservation and sustainable land management.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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