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

Potentilla flabellifolia Hook. ex Torr. & A. Gray
fan-leaved cinquefoil (high mountain cinquefoil)
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #10210)

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Distribution of Potentilla flabellifolia
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a creeping rhizome and branched stem-base; stems several, tufted, ascending to erect, 10-30 cm tall, nearly smooth to short-hairy.
Basal leaves numerous, long-stalked, palmately compound; leaflets 3, wedge- to fan-shaped, 1-3 cm long, unevenly and deeply blunt-toothed except at the base, green on both surfaces, smooth to slightly hairy; stem leaves alternate, 1 or 2.
Inflorescence a leafy-bracted terminal cluster of few (1 to 5) stalked flowers; corollas yellow, bowl-shaped, the petals 5, heart-shaped, 6-10 mm long, notched at the tip; calyces often glandular, 5-lobed, the lobes lance-triangular, alternating with 5 slightly shorter, oval bractlets entire or 2- or 3-toothed at the tip; ovaries superior, the styles not warty at the base; stamens about 20.
Achenes, numerous, clustered, lopsided-egg-shaped, about 1.5 mm long, dark, smooth.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist meadows, heath and scree slopes in the montane to alpine zones; locally frequent in the Coast-Cascade Mountains south of 51degreeN, rare in extreme SC BC; E to SW AB and S to MT, ID and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Potentilla flabellifolia

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) 945 1861 2390
Slope Gradient (%) 0 18 84
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
3 160 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 4 7
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(2), CMA(3), ESSF(37), IMA(6), MH(1)


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 alpine tundra & boreal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Potentilla emarginata Pursh
Potentilla flabellifolia var. emarginata (Pursh) B. Boivin
Potentilla hyparctica Malte
Potentilla hyparctica subsp. nana (Willd. ex Schltdl.) Hultén
Potentilla hyparctica var. elatior (Abrom.) Fernald

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References