Welcome to the NPWRC Herbarium

The Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center's herbarium was established in the 1960's to house reference and voucher specimens of plants for researchers in wetland and waterfowl ecology in the northern Great Plains. Since then, specimens from many other areas of the United States and Canada have been added to the collection. In 1978, the Herbarium (code NPWRC) was listed in the International Index Herbariorum to facilitate inter-herbarium loans and exchanges.

Today, the NPWRC herbarium houses over 6,000 plant specimens. All specimens in the collection are in a searchable database that can be accessed from this page. For more information on the NPWRC Herbarium, please contact the collection's manager using the “Contact Us” form found on this page.

Featured Plant - Potentilla hippiana

Plant Image

A rather uncommon plant, Hipp's cinquefoil has been collected across most of North Dakota, but seems to be absent from our south-central counties. Elsewhere, the plant occurs from southern Alberta and Saskatchewan to Arizona and New Mexico.

Hipp's cinquefoil is perennial from a heavy branched caudex (toughened stem base). Plants are usually about a foot tall, with several stems. Basal leaves are numerous and larger than those on the upper stem. Leaves have 7 to 9 leaflets arranged digitately (like fingers on a hand). Leaflets are usually greenish on the upper surface and gray-hairy below. The yellow flowers are numerous, with petals only about 1/4 to 1/2-inch long. The tiny achenes (seeds) are greenish-yellow.

Look for Hipp's cinquefoil during June on dry native grassland. Grazing by livestock seems to have little effect on the abundance of this plant. The leaves and roots of many Potentillas are used in teas and medicines, but none of the references available to me mention any economic uses for the species discussed here.

The cinquefoils (meaning "five-leaved") are members of the rose family (Rosaceae). Rose is an ancient Latin name. The family contains about 3,000 species, and includes dozens of horticulturally and agriculturally important plants such as mountain-ash, spiraea, pear, apple, cherry, and strawberry. The generic name Potentilla is a diminutive of potens, "powerful," originally applied to another cinquefoil for its reputed medicinal powers. The distinguished German botanist Johann Georg Christian Lehmann (1792-1860), director of the botanic garden at Hamburg, described Hipp's cinquefoil for science in 1830, dedicating the specific name to his friend Charles Friedrich Hipp. Lehmann was an authority on Potentilla and several other genera.

Author Credit:

"Plant of the Week" comes from a series of articles about native wildflowers of the North Dakota grasslands written by NPWRC biologist Harold A. Kantrud. The articles appeared weekly in local newspapers. Each article is three to four paragraphs in length and usually consists of the life history of the species, its identifying traits, where in North Dakota one can expect to find it, and its nomenclatural history. Kurt A. Adolfson and Jack Lefor provided the many excellent photographs used in the original articles and this resource.