Potentilla gracilis (Graceful Cinquefoil) - photos and description



Potentilla gracilis


Potentilla gracilis
Basal leaf in above photo

Potentilla gracilis
Leaf underside in above photo

Potentilla gracilis
Stem leaf in above photo 

General: Several stems from a branching caudex, stems decumbent to erect.

Flowers: Flowers grow in cymes, are bright yellow, flower measured at 2 cm diameter. A flower petal was measured at 8 mm long by 9 mm wide. Sepals are lanceolate, a sepal was measured at 5 mm long by 2 mm wide. Bractlets are smaller than the sepals, linear-lanceolate, a bractlet was measured at 4 mm long by 2 mm wide.

Leaves: Basal leaves on long stalks, leaves digitate with 5 to 7 leaflets. Leaflets oblanceolate, serrate, leaflet measured at 5 cm long by 1.5 cm wide (pressed flat). Top of leaves green to greyish-green, leaf undersides tomentose, light grey-green to white in colour. Top of leaves and leaf margins have long hairs. Stem leaves alternate, typically 2-3.

Height: Height listed in Budd's Flora to 60 cm tall, we measured plants to 50 cm tall.

Habitat: Grassland and open woods.

Abundance: Common.

Origin: Native.

How to identify this species of Potentilla: Digitate leaves, 2-3 stem leaves, leaflets paler underneath (Taxonomic Reminder to Identifying Saskatchewan Plants).

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

When and where photographed: Photos taken June 21st and July 20th, grassy meadows, Cypress Hills, about 425 km southwest of Regina, SK, and July 2nd and 3rd, moist open woods, about 70 km southeast of our home in Regina, SK.