Page author: David Giblin
Potentilla gracilis
slender cinquefoil

Distribution: Widely distributed on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to California, east to the Rocky Mountains, northern Great Plains, Great Lakes region, and eastern Canada.

Habitat: Varied habitats; moderately saline soil, grasslands, moist areas in shrub-steppe, forested mountains and subalpine meadows.

Flowers: June-August

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Bumblebees, bees, flies, butterflies, beetles, moths, wasps


Highly variable perennial from a branched crown, the several ascending or erect stems 4-8 dm. tall.


Basal leaves numerous, with petioles to 3 dm. long, palmately divided; the leaflets 7-9, broadly oblanceolate to oblong-elliptic, varying from glabrous and green on both surfaces to hairy above and white-woolly below, toothed to deeply dissected; cauline leaves 1-2, reduced; stipules up to 2.5 cm. long, entire to lacerate.


Inflorescence large, many-flowered, open, somewhat flat-topped; calyx 6-10 mm. broad, the 5 lobes 4-10 mm. long, ovate-lanceolate, the alternating bracteoles narrowly lanceolate, nearly as long; petals 5, yellow, obcordate, longer than the sepals; stamens 20; pistils numerous, the style slender, sub-terminal on the achene and the same length.


Achene 1.5-2 mm. long, smooth, greenish.

Accepted Name:
Potentilla gracilis Douglas ex Hook.
Publication: Bot. Mag. 57: t. 2984. 1830.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Potentilla gracilis in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database

WA Flora Checklist: Potentilla gracilis checklist entry

OregonFlora: Potentilla gracilis information

E-Flora BC: Potentilla gracilis atlas page

CalPhotos: Potentilla gracilis photos

105 photographs:
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