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Macoun's Cinquefoil - Potentilla macounii
Other Names:  Potentilla concinna var. macounii

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Native Species

Global Rank: G3?
State Rank: S3S4
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status


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State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Potentilla macounii is a regional endemic occurring in Montana and Alberta (FNA 2014). It is a Species of Concern in Alberta (FNA 2014), but appears common in central Montana. However, it can easily be misidentified and several specimens in the herbaria need to be re-evaluated. Current information on locations, population sizes, and threats is needed.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Macoun's Cinquefoil (Potentilla macounii) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 09/24/2018
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Range Extent

    ScoreF - 20,000-200,000 sq km (~8,000-80,000 sq mi)

    Area of Occupancy

    ScoreD - 6-25 4-km2 grid cells

    Number of Populations

    ScoreB - 6 - 20

    Environmental Specificity

    ScoreB - Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common


    ScoreD - Low

General Description
Perennial with a branched caudex clothed in old leaf bases. Stems prostrate to ascending, sericeous, 3–10 cm. Leaf blades cordate-ovate, pinnately divided into 5 to 7 pinnately toothed leaflets, 5–15 mm long, sparsely to densely sericeous above, white-tomentose beneath. Inflorescence a few-flowered, sericeous cyme with spreading branches. Flowers: sepals broadly lanceolate, 4–7 mm long with narrower bracteoles 3–5 mm long; petals yellow, 5–8 mm long, truncate. Achenes smooth, about 2 mm long (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Flowering in early summer (FNA 2014).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Barry Johnston in his 1980 monograph of Potentilla section Multijugae supports recognition of this taxon at the specific level, in a section different from that of P. concinna. This he based on characters of style shape and texture and leaf lobing pattern. However, this monograph is a Doctoral thesis so did not undergo the same peer-review process that a published article would.

The Potentilla treatment by authors Ertter, Elven, Reveal, and Murray in Flora of North America, Volume 9 (2014) accepted Potentilla macounii as a distinct species in Section Concinnae based on a combination of characteristics: subpinnate leaves where at least two proximal pairs of leaflets well separated from the terminal leaflets and plants having somewhat softer hairs.

Potentilla macounii has at least 2 leaflets on the petiole that are well separated from the terminal leaflets plus the inflorescence has 1-5 flowers, stipules are entire or shallowly lobed, bracteoles are shorter than sepals, petals are longer than sepals, and style is at least 2 mm long. In Potentilla concinna leaflets are attached at the tip of the petiole (Lesica et al. 2012). In Potentilla pensylvanica the stipules are deeply lobed, bracteoles are equal or longer than the sepals, and the styles are 1.2 mm or less. In Potentilla hippiana the inflorescence usually has more than 5 flowers and the petals and sepals are similar in length. In Potentilla rubicaulis the inflorescence usually has 1-5 flowers, but the styles are about 1 mm long.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Endemic to Alberta and Montana (FNA 2014). Specimens collected from the Absaroka Range in western Wyoming are similar to Potentilla macounii, but have a softer vestiture and somewhat larger, less divided and more subpalmate leaves, and occur up to 3,300 meters (FNA 2014).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 36

(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)

Sandy to gravelly, shallow, often calcareous soil of grasslands, woodlands, outcrops; valleys, montane (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

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.
    • Johnston, B. C. 1980. Studies of population variability leading to a new classification of Potentilla sect. Multijugae (Rosaceae). Ph.D. dissertation. Boulder, CO: University of Colorado.
    • 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?
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. (FNA). 2014. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 9. Magnoliophyta: Picramniaceae to Rosaceae. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc. 752 pp.
    • Jones, W. W. 1901. Preliminary flora of Gallatin County. M.S. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State College. 78 pp.
    • 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:
Macoun's Cinquefoil — Potentilla macounii.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from