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Montana Field Guides

One-flowered Cinquefoil - Potentilla uniflora

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S3S4
(see State Rank Reason below)
C-value: 7

Agency Status


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State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
In Montana, mostly known from Glacier National Park. The species does not appear to be at any significant risk of extirpation in Montana as a result of relatively large population numbers and due to the apparent lack of threats to the known populations or the species' habitat.
General Description
One-flowered Cinquefoil is an herbaceous perennial with erect or ascending stems 5-15 cm high that arise from a branched rootcrown. The basal leaves have slender petioles and 3 deeply toothed, elliptic leaflets 1-2 cm long. The 1-2 alternate stem leaves are similar but much smaller. The lower leaf surfaces and upper stems are densely covered with long, tangled, gray hairs, while the upper surfaces, petioles, and lower stems are sparsely covered with stiff, straight hairs. 1-2 stalked flowers are borne at the top of the stem. The saucer-shaped flowers have 5 lance-shaped, long-hairy sepals 3-4 mm long, 5 yellow, oblong petals 4-5 mm long with shallowly lobed tips, 20 stamens, and numerous pistils. The slender style is attached near the top of the achene, which is finely bumpy near its base.

Flowering in late June - July.

Diagnostic Characteristics
There are many similar-appearing species of Potentilla. A technical key and hand lens or microscope are required for positive determination. Potentilla nivea has lower stems and petioles that are covered with long tangled hairs; P. hyparctica has leaves that are only sparsely hairy beneath.

Range Comments
AK to QC south to OR, CO; Siberia (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 42

(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)

Open, gravelly slopes and ridgetops in the alpine zone.

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this plant species or its genus where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus bifarius, Bombus fervidus, Bombus frigidus, Bombus rufocinctus, Bombus occidentalis, Bombus pensylvanicus, Bombus impatiens, and Bombus flavidus (Thorp et al. 1983, Wilson et al. 2010, Colla and Dumesh 2010, Colla et al. 2011, Koch and Strange 2012, Koch et al. 2012, Williams et al. 2014).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Colla, S., L. Richardson, and P. Williams. 2011. Bumble bees of the eastern United States. Washington, DC: USDA Forest Service, Pollinator Partnership. 103 p.
    • Colla, S.R. and S. Dumesh. 2010. The bumble bees of southern Ontario: notes on natural history and distribution. Journal of the Entomological Society of Ontario 141:39-68.
    • Koch, J., J. Strange, and P. Williams. 2012. Bumble bees of the western United States. Washington, DC: USDA Forest Service, Pollinator Partnership. 143 p.
    • Koch, J.B. and J.P. Strange. 2012. The status of Bombus occidentalis and B. moderatus in Alaska with special focus on Nosema bombi incidence. Northwest Science 86:212-220.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Thorp, R.W., D.S. Horning, and L.L. Dunning. 1983. Bumble bees and cuckoo bumble bees of California (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Bulletin of the California Insect Survey 23:1-79.
    • Williams, P., R. Thorp, L. Richardson, and S. Colla. 2014. Bumble Bees of North America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 208 p.
    • Wilson, J.S., L.E. Wilson, L.D. Loftis, and T. Griswold. 2010. The montane bee fauna of north central Washington, USA, with floral associations. Western North American Naturalist 70(2): 198-207.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Fertig, W. and M. Bynum. 1994. Biological report on the proposed Twin Lakes Research Natural Area. Unpublished report to the Shoshone National Forest. Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, Wyoming. 33 pp. plus appendices.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
One-flowered Cinquefoil — Potentilla uniflora.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from