Potentilla plattensis (Low Cinquefoil) - photos and description


Looking straight down on plant.


Plants blooming but foliage very hard to see lying prostrate in grassy meadow.

Grass clipped around plant revealing its foliage

Flowers yellow with orange colouring near their base. 

Basal leaf in above photo.

General: Prostrate plant with a spreading growth habit and many leafy stems. The stems are reddish and have appressed hairs.

Flowers:  Flowers few, are yellow with orange colouring at their base. We measured a flower at 15 mm diameter. Petals are longer than the sepals. 

Leaves: Leaves pinnate, we counted up to 13 leaflets. Leaflets pinnatifid. The leaf highlighted in photo above was 5.5 cm long, including petiole. We measured leaflets to 1 cm long. Top of leaf is dark green, bottom of leaf is light green. Leaves are mostly basal, stems leaves are alternate. There are long hairs on the top and bottom of leaves.

Height: Length of stems is listed in Flora of Alberta to 20 cm, we measured stems to 18 cm long.

Habitat: Moist prairie meadows and hillsides.

Abundance: Ranked as uncommon (S4) by the Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre, has been rare in our experience.

Origin: Native.

Similar species: This plant might be confused with Potentilla concinna, a low-growing Potentilla which also has yellow flowers with orange colouring at the base of petals. However, P. concinna has leaves which are more or less digitate, and have white undersides. While P. plattenis has leaves that are pinnate, leaflets that are pinnatifid, and leaflets which have green undersides.

When and where photographed: Photos taken June 16th, moist meadow in pasture, about 70 km southeast of our home in Regina, SK.