Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Potentilla gracilis Dougl. ex Hook.
- Family: Rose (Rosaceae)
- Flowering: May-August
- Field Marks: This cinquefoil differs from all others by its palmately divided basal leaves and its 5-9 leaflets that are toothed or divided only to about the middle of each segment.
- Habitat: Wet meadows, damp forests, common in the mountains.
- Habit: Perennial herb from a short, stout rootstock.
- Stems: Upright, up to 2 feet tall, usually with some sort of hairiness.
- Leaves: Palmately divided into 5-9 leaflets; each leaflet oblanceolate, up to 3 1/2 inches long, green or gray, variously hairy or sometimes nearly smooth on the lower surface,
toothed or divided only to about the middle; stipules toothed or toothless, up to 1 inch long.
- Flowers: Many in an open cyme, each flower subtended by a bract.
- Sepals: 5, green, alternating with 5 small bractlets on the outside, lanceolate to ovate, 1/4-1/2 inch long, usually silky-hairy.
- Petals: 5, yellow, free from each other, obovate, usually with a rather shallow notch at the tip, 1/4-3/4 inch long.
- Stamens: Usually 20.
- Pistils: Several to many, located in a cup (hypanthium); ovary superior.
- Fruits: Achenes smooth, greenish yellow, about 1/16 inch long.
- Notes: Throughout its range, this is an extremely variable species, particularly in the coloration, hairiness, and division of the leaves.
Previous Species -- Gland Cinquefoil (Potentilla glandulosa)
Return to Species List -- Group 6
Next Species -- Marsh Cinquefoil (Potentilla palustris)