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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Fanleaf Cinquefoil - Potentilla gracilis
Other Names:  Northwest Cinquefoil

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 4

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Common in a variety of open habitats in the western half of the state.
General Description
Perennial from a mostly branched caudex. Stems erect or ascending, glabrate to pubescent, subscapose, 10–60 cm. Leaf blades suborbicular, palmately divided into 5 to 9 oblanceolate, dentate to deeply lobed, glabrous to tomentose leaflets 2–8 cm long. Inflorescence a many-flowered, sericeous, sometimes glandular, open cyme with ascending branches. Flowers: sepals lanceolate, 3–8 mm long; bracteoles narrower and shorter; petals yellow, 5–10 mm long. Achenes smooth, 1–1.5 mm long (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Lesica (2012) recognizes five varieties in MT: var. brunnescens (Rydb.) C.L. Hitchc.; var. fastigiata (Nutt.) S. Watson; var. elmeri (Rydb.) Jeps.; var. flabelliformis (Lehm.) Nutt. ex Torr. & A. Gray; and var. pulcherimma (Lehm.) Fernald. At the present time MT NHP is only recognizing varieties flabelliformis and pulcherrima.

Species Range
Montana Range


Range Comments
AK to MB south to CA, AZ and NM (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 1556

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Meadows, grasslands, steppe; plains, valleys to subalpine (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Guenther, G.E. 1989. Ecological relationships of bitterbrush communities on the Mount Haggin Wildlife Management Area. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 73 p.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Fanleaf Cinquefoil — Potentilla gracilis.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from