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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Jamie Fenneman     (Photo ID #20674)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Potentilla gracilis var. gracilis
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Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


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)
1131 340 2470
Slope Gradient (%)
14 0 230

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

207 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 0 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Potentilla longipedunculata Rydb.
Potentilla macropetala Rydb.