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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Platte Cinquefoil - Potentilla plattensis

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G4
State Rank: S3
(see State Rank Reason below)
State Threat Score: No Known Threats
CCVI: Highly Vulnerable
C-value: 6

Agency Status


External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Rare in Montana, where it is known from several collections, particularly from Beaverhead County.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Platte Cinquefoil (Potentilla plattensis) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 05/28/2013
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Population Size

    Score2 - Small: Generally 2,000-10,000 individuals.

    CommentEstimated. Precise population data are lacking though the species is describes as common at several of the collection sites.

    Range Extent

    Score0-1 - Widespread to Sporadically Distributed: Species has a distribution in the state such that it is borderline in its classification or its distribution is too imprecisely documented to place it in one class.

    Area of Occupancy

    Score2 - Low: Generally occurring in 4-10 Subwatersheds (6th Code HUC’s).

    Environmental Specificity

    Score1 - Moderate: Species is restricted to a specific habitat that is more widely distributed or to several restricted habitats and is typically dependent upon relatively unaltered, good-quality habitat (C Values of 5-7).


    ScoreNA - Rank factor not assessed.


    ScoreNA - Rank factor not assessed.

    Intrinsic Vulnerability

    Score0-1 - Low to Moderate Vulnerability.

    Raw Conservation Status Score

    Score 5 to 7 total points scored out of a possible 13 (Rarity factors only).

General Description
Platte Cinquefoil is a perennial herb with several erect to prostrate stems that are 10-20 cm high and arising from a branched rootcrown and taproot. The numerous, pinnately compound, basal leaves have 7-17 oblong, deeply-lobed leaflets and petioles that are 1-7 cm long. Stem leaves are alternate and become sessile above. Foliage is sparsely covered with long hairs. The stalked flowers are borne in an open, branched inflorescence that is nearly half as high as the plant. The saucer-shaped flowers have 5 broadly lance-shaped sepals that are 3-4 mm long, 5 yellow, oblong petals that are 4-6 mm long, 20 stamens, and numerous ovaries. The nearly smooth, brown achenes are 1-2 mm long, and each has a filiform style arising from near the top.

Flowering in June.

Diagnostic Characteristics
There are many similar-appearing species of Potentilla. A technical key and hand lens or microscope are required for positive determination. The leaves with 7-17 sparsely hairy leaflets and the achene with a long, slender style borne at its tip help to identify this species.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
AB to MB, south to AZ and NM. Sparse.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 18

(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)

Mesic grasslands and sagebrush steppe in the valley and montane zones.
Predicted Suitable Habitat Model

This species has a Predicted Suitable Habitat Model available.

To learn how these Models were created see

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).

Threats or Limiting Factors
Threat impact not assigned because threats are not known (MTNHP Threat Assessment 2021).

  • 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.
    • 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?
    • Culver, D.R. 1994. Floristic analysis of the Centennial Region, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Montana State University, Bozeman. 199 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. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • 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:
Platte Cinquefoil — Potentilla plattensis.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from