Alchemilla subcrenata differs from the assumedly native A.glomerulans (on Bjørnøya) in hairs on stems and petioles patent or slightly retrorse, in loose clusters of flowers, and in leaves with a rather dense pubescence and with hairs on the upper surface concentrated to the folds between the lobes. In A. glomerulans the hairs on stems and petioles are appressed, the cymes very dense (‘glomeruli’), and the leaves have a sparse but even pubescence.
Introduced. Alchemilla subcrenata had a stand of flowering plants near a cabin at Krillvatnet on Bjørnøya in 1957, but this stand was not refound during searches in 1964 or 1967 (see Engelskjøn & Schweitzer 1970). There are, however, one or more stands within the Russian settlement of Barentsburg on Spitsbergen (Nordenskiöld Land), observed repeatedly from 1988 to 2011. The plant is obviously introduced in Svalbard and may not reach reproductive stage there. It flowered on Bjørnøya but has not yet been observed flowering in Barentsburg. It sustains well by vegetative growth.
The global range is European and W Siberian.
The genus Alchemilla is one of the larger agamosperous groups of Rosaceae with 400—500 reported species (or microspecies) in Europe (Kurtto et al. 2007). It is nearly confined to Europe and W Siberia (with some shrubby species or a related genus in the East African high mountains), but a few species transgress the Atlantic to Iceland and Greenland and 1—2 species to Jan Mayen and Bjørnøya. As all investigated European and North Atlantic species are agamospermous, only a single fruit is needed to start a new population. The source area of every Atlantic Alchemilla is Europe (there are no endemic species in Iceland, Greenland or the arctic islands). This vouches for a rather efficient dispersal across the sea. As no species of Alchemilla have fruits with any floating ability, this is an indirect support for the importance of bird dispersal.
Engelskjøn, T. & Schweitzer, H.J. 1970. Studies on the flora of Bear Island (Bjørnøya). I. Vascular plants. – Astarte 3: 1–36.
Kurtto, A., Fröhner, S.E. & Lampinen, R. 2007. Atlas florae europaeae. Distribution of vascular plants in Europe. 14. Rosaceae (Alchemilla and Aphanes). – The Committee for Mapping the Flora of Europe and Societas Biologica Fennica Vanamo, Helsinki.