Potentilla diversifolia (Mountain-meadow Cinquefoil) - photos and description


Basal leaf in above photo, leaflets serrate on upper half, not serrate below the middle.

Basal leaf in above photo, leaflets serrate on upper half, not serrate below the middle.

General: Perennial with one to several stems, plants with a stout, woody rootstalk.

Flowers: Flowers few, single on peduncles or in an open cluster. We measured flowers to 18 mm diameter.

Leaves: Basal leaves long-stalked, 5 to 7 digitate, green on both sides, or, often with a bluish cast. Leaflets serrate on upper half. Leaflet measured at 4 cm long by 25 mm wide. Petioles sparingly hairy, ciliate, top side of leaflets glabrous, bottom side of leaflets with hairs on central nerve only. Stem leaves are alternate and reduced upwards.

Height: Height listed in Budd's Flora to 50 cm, we measured plants to 36 cm tall.

Habitat: Meadows and rocky slopes in the Cypress Hills.

Abundance: Extremely rare provincially, ranked as an S1 (as of 2021) by the Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre. We've found the plant to be uncommon/infrequent in the Cypress Hills.

Origin: Native.

How to identify this species of Potentilla: Leaves 5 to 7 digitate, green both sides, leaflets serrate above the middle of the leaflet (Taxonomic Reminder for Recognizing Saskatchewan Plants).

Similar species: This plant is very similar to Potentilla gracilis. That plant however has leaflets that are serrate for their entire length, and leaflet bottoms that are pubescent to white-silky hairy, and feel velvety to touch. Whereas Potentilla diversifolia has leaflets that are serrate in the upper half, with leaflet bottoms that are only sparingly hairy and not white-silky hairy.

Synonym: Listed by some authorities as Potentilla glaucophylla.

When and where photographed: We took the above photos June 15th and 27th in grassy ravines of the West Block of the Cypress Hills, about 425 km southwest of our home in Regina, SK.