E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Potentilla gracilis Douglas ex Hook. var. gracilis
graceful cinquefoil
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #20674)

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Distribution of Potentilla gracilis var. gracilis
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a thick, scaly, branched stem-base; stems several, tufted, erect or decumbent at the base, 30-80 cm tall, often branched, appressed- to spreading-hairy.
Basal leaves long-stalked, palmately compound; leaflets 5 to 7 (9), lanceolate to oblong-elliptic, (2) 3-8 (10) cm long, coarsely saw-toothed to deeply lobed, greenish and variously hairy (most often spreading-hairy to woolly-hairy, sometimes also glandular, sometimes nearly smooth) above, usually paler and hairier, often white-woolly beneath; stem leaves alternate, reduced, 1 or 2.
Inflorescence an open, somewhat flat-topped, terminal cluster of several to many stalked flow ers; corollas yellow, bowl-shaped, the petals 5, heart-shaped, 6-10 mm long, shallowly notched at the tip; calyces hairy, 5-lobed, the lobes broadly lanceolate, 4-7 mm long, alternating with 5 shorter, narrowly lanceolate bractlets; ovaries superior; stamens 20.
Achenes, numerous, clustered, lopsided-egg-shaped, 1-2 mm long, greenish, smooth to faintly net-veined.
Three varieties occur in BC

1. Leaflets cleft at least 2/3 of the way to the midvein, the segments usually linear and greyish- or whitish-hairy beneath........................ var. flabelliformis (Lehm.) Nutt. ex T. & G.

1. Leaflets cleft no more than 2/3 of the way to the midvein, the segments usually lanceolate and often greenish beneath.

2. Lower surface of leaves white-woolly, much lighter than the upper surface................. var. gracilis

2. Lower surface of the leaves variously hairy but rarely woolly, usually greenish, not much lighter than the upper surface....................... var. fastigiata (Nutt.) S. Wats.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry to moist meadows, grasslands, rocky slopes, open forests, and roadsides and waste places in the lowland to montane zones; common in S BC except rare on the coast (var. gracilis), rare in BC N of 55degreeN; N to AK, E to SK and S to CA and MX.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Potentilla gracilis var. gracilis

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 340 1131 2470
Slope Gradient (%) 0 14 230
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 207 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(7), BAFA(7), BG(10), BWBS(2), ESSF(27), ICH(6), IDF(100), IMA(1), MS(16), PP(39), SBPS(38), SBS(15), SWB(7)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Potentilla longipedunculata Rydb.
Potentilla macropetala Rydb.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References