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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Marsh Cinquefoil - Comarum palustre
Other Names:  Potentilla palustris

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4
(see State Rank Reason below)
C-value: 7

Agency Status


External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Fairly common in montane to subalpine wetlands and fens, primarily in northwest Montana
General Description
Rhizomatous perennial. Stems ascending, prostrate, or floating, reddish, glabrous to sparsely glandular, 20–50 cm. Leaves sheathing-petiolate, pinnately divided into 3 to 7 leaflets; leaflets oblong, sparsely hairy, glaucous beneath, dentate, 2–7 cm long. Inflorescence a leafy, few- to several-flowered, glandular-pubescent cyme. Flowers perfect, perigynous; hypanthium saucer-shaped; sepals ovate, purple, 7–15 mm long, alternate with narrower and shorter bracteoles; petals dark red, 3–7 mm long; stamens usually 20 or more; styles numerous. Fruit a cluster of ovoid achenes, each ca. 1.5 mm long enveloped by the calyx; styles deciduous at maturity, attached laterally (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Distinguished from the genus Potentilla in Montana by the reddish flowers and wetland habitat.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Circumboreal south to CA, WY and OH (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 274

(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)

Fens and wetland in the montane and subalpine

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Marsh Cinquefoil"
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Citation for data on this website:
Marsh Cinquefoil — Comarum palustre.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from