fanleaf cinquefoil

(Potentilla gracilis var. flabelliformis)

Conservation Status


No image available

  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FAC - Facultative


FAC - Facultative

  Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative


Fanleaf cinquefoil is a 20 to 40 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on usually several stems from a thick, branched caudex.

The stems are erect or ascending, stout, and covered with generally appressed hairs.

Most of the leaves are basal. Basal leaves are on long, hairy stalks. The are palmately divided into 5, 7, or 9 leaflets. The leaflets are ¾ to 4¾ long, though usually 1 to 3 long, and inversely lance-shaped or narrowly inversely egg-shaped with the attachment at the narrow end. The central leaflet of the basal leaf is 2 to 3½ long. The upper surface of the leaf is green and sparsely hairy. The lower surface is densely covered with white, short, matted or tangled, woolly hairs. Neither surface has glandular hairs. The margins are deeply toothed around the entire margin, including near the base. The teeth are narrow, cut more than ¾ of the way to the midrib, and are often considered lobes. The margins of these teeth/lobes are somewhat rolled backward toward the underside. Stem leaves are few, often just 1 or 2, alternate, and similar to the basal leaves, but smaller and often with only 3 leaflets.

The inflorescence is a flattened, open, branched cluster of many flowers at the end of the stem.

The flowers are ½ to ¾ wide. The 5 petals are yellow; ¼ to long; inversely heart-shaped, broadest at the tip with two rounded lobes separated by a broad notch; and tapering to a narrow, wedge-shaped base. The 5 sepals are green, almost as long as the petals and alternate with the petals. The 5 bractlets are much shorter than the sepals when the flower is fully open. They alternate with the sepals and are hidden below the petals when the flower is viewed from above. There are 20 yellow stamens. There is no floral scent.




20 to 40


Flower Color




Similar Species


Graceful cinquefoil (Potentilla gracilis var. gracilis) stems are covered with generally spreading hairs. The central leaflet of the basal leaf is somewhat shorter, 1¼ to 2¾ long. The teeth are cut about ½ of the way to the midrib.

Northwest cinquefoil (Potentilla gracilis var. fastigiata) is a shorter plant, usually 8 to 24 in height. The stems are covered with spreading to appressed hairs. The central leaflet of the basal leaf is shorter, ¾ to 2 long. The upper and lower surfaces are more or less equally hairy. The teeth are cut less than ½ of the way to the midrib. The petals are shorter, to ¼ long.


Dry to moist. Prairies, woods.




July to August


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



3, 4, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Rosanae  


Rosales (roses, elms, figs, and allies)  


Rosaceae (rose)  
  Subfamily Rosoideae (brambles, roses, strawberries, and allies)  
  Tribe Potentilleae (strawberries, cinquefoils, and allies)  
  Subtribe Potentillinae (cinquefoil)  


Potentilla (cinquefoils)  
  Species Potentilla gracilis (slender cinquefoil)  

Subordinate Taxa






Potentilla flabelliformis

Potentilla flabelliformis var. ctenophora

Potentilla gracilis var. ctenophora

Potentilla indiges


Common Names


fanleaf cinquefoil

graceful cinquefoil

slender cinquefoil


Common names of the varieties of Potentilla gracilis are used inconsistently, sometimes seeming randomly shuffled. The common name usage for the varieties of Potentilla gracilis on follows ITIS.













Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.



A small, often secondary bract within an inflorescence; a bract that is borne on a petiole instead of subtending it.



A short, thickened, woody, persistent enlargement of the stem, at or below ground level, used for water storage.


Glandular hairs

Hairs spread over aerial vegetation that secrete essential oils. The oils act to protect against herbivores and pathogens or, when on a flower part, attract pollinators. The hairs have a sticky or oily feel.


Palmately divided

Similar to a hand. Having more than three lobes that radiate from a single point at the base of the leaf.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

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