Potentilla gracilis var. gracilis

From Puget Prairie Plants
photo by Ben Legler

Scientific Name: Potentilla gracilis var. gracilis

Family: Rosaceae

Common names: slender cinquefoil, graceful cinquefoil

Synonyms/Misapplications: Potentilla gracilis vars. fastigiata, glabrata, permollis, Potentilla fastigiata, P. glomerata, P. macropetala, P. longipedunculata



Potentilla gracilis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta
Phylum: Spermatophyta
Subphylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosanae
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Potentilla L.
Species: Potentilla gracilis Douglas ex Hook


Highly variable native perennial from rising from a branched crown, erect to slightly spreading stems, 4-8 dm tall. 5 varieties are intergrading.

Basal leaves are numerous, the leaves are white woolly on the underside, bear large stipules, comprised of 5-9 leaflets, oblong-eliptic, margins deeply toothed.

Inflorescence large, many-flowered, open, somewhat flat-topped; calyx 6-10 mm. broad, the 5 lobes 4-10 mm. long, ovate-lanceolate, the alternating bracteoles narrowly lanceolate, nearly as long; petals 5, yellow, obcordate, longer than the sepals; stamens 20; pistils numerous, the style slender, sub-terminal on the achene and the same length.

Fruit is an achene 1.5-2 mm. long, smooth, greenish.[1][2]

Bloom Period

July - August.[2]


Alaska south, on both sides of Cascades, to California, east to Quebec, Montana, Colorado and Arizona.[3]


Damp to seasonally damp meadows, flatlands, sagebrush steppes, open forest.[3]


Wildlife: Medium palatability for browsing and grazing animals.

First Nations: Sx̌ʷyʔiɬpx use, infusion of pounded root as a blood tonic, antidiarrheal, and general tonic for aches and wash for sores. Nlaka'pamux use as root and leaf poultice, mixed with subalpine fir pitch, used as a drawing medicine on wounds.[4]


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  1. Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:2020-05-09]
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bowcutt, F., & Hamman, Sarah. (2016). Vascular plants of the South Sound prairies (First ed.). Olympia, Washington: The Evergreen State College Press.
  3. 3.0 3.1 MacKinnon, A., Pojar, Jim, & Alaback, Paul B. (2004). Plants of the Pacific Northwest coast : Washington, Oregon, British Columbia & Alaska (Rev. ed.). Vancouver: Lone Pine Pub.
  4. Native American Ethnobotany Database. Retrieved from http://naeb.brit.org/uses/search/?string=potentilla+gracilis