Five-leaf Cinquefoil - Potentilla nivea var. pentaphylla
State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Rare in Montana, though several large populations are known and most populations, as well as the species' habitat, are not being negatively impacted.
Five-leaf Cinquefoil is an herbaceous perennial with erect or ascending stems that are 5-20 cm high and arising from a branched rootcrown. The numerous basal leaves have slender petioles and 3 or 5 deeply lobed, narrowly elliptic leaflets that are 1-2 cm long. The 1-2 alternate stem leaves are similar but usually have only 3 leaflets. The stems and lower leaf surfaces are densely covered with long, gray hairs, while the upper surfaces of leaves are covered with sparse, silky hairs. Several stalked flowers are borne in a branched, somewhat crowded inflorescence. The bowl-shaped flowers have 5 broadly lance-shaped, long-hairy sepals that are 3-4 mm long, 5 yellow, oblong petals that are 4-5 mm long with shallowly lobed tips, 20 stamens, and numerous pistils. The slender style has a bumpy, thickened base and is attached near the top of the nearly smooth, brown achene that is 1-2 mm long.
Flowering in July, fruiting in August.
There are many similar-appearing species of POTENTILLA. A technical key and hand lens or microscope are required for positive determination. P. CONCINNA usually has some leaves with 7 leaflets and rarely any with 3; P. UNIFLORA rarely has more than 3 leaflets.
B.C. to Sask., south to OR, UT, and CO. Sparse.
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Dry, gravelly soil of exposed ridges and slopes in the montane to alpine zones.
Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
- Commonly Associated with these Ecological Systems
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
Do you know of a citation we're missing?
- Lesica, P., M. T. Lavin, and P. F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
- Vanderhorst, J.P. and B.L. Heidel. 1995. Sensitive plant survey in the Tobacco Root Mountains, Madison County, Montana. Unpublished report to the Beaverhead and Deerlodge National Forests. Montana Natural Heritage Program. Helena, MT. 66 pp. plus appendices.