tall cinquefoil

(Drymocallis arguta)

Conservation Status
tall cinquefoil
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Tall cinquefoil is a 12 to 40 tall, though usually less than 24 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises from a stout rhizome or branching caudex.

The stems are erect, stout, unbranched below the inflorescence, and covered with brownish, sticky, glandular hairs.

Most of the leaves are basal. Basal leaves are on long, hairy stalks. The are pinnately divided into 7, 9, or 11 leaflets. The leaflets are hairy, inversely egg-shaped with the attachment at the narrow end, and up to 2¾ long. The margins are coarsely toothed around the entire margin, including near the base. The upper and lower surfaces are hairy. Stem leaves are few, often just 1 or 2 leaves on the stem. They are alternate and similar to the basal leaves but smaller and with only 3 or 5 leaflets.

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

The flowers are ½ to ¾ wide. The 5 petals are yellowish-white, cream colored, or nearly white. The 5 green sepals are about equal to the petals in length and alternate with the petals. The 5 bractlets are dark green and about as long as 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 or more yellow stamens. There is no floral scent.




12 to 24


Flower Color


Yellowish-white, cream colored, or nearly white


Similar Species


Tall cinquefoil is one of only two cinquefoils in Minnesota that have white flowers. The other is Three-toothed Cinquefoil (Potentilla tridentata). The latter plant has leaves divided into three leaflets. Each leaflet has only three teeth.

Sulphur cinquefoil (Potentilla recta) leaves are palmately divided into 5 or 7 leaflets. The flowers are always pale yellow, never white.


Dry to moderate moisture. Prairies.




June to July


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 24, 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)  
  Subclass Rosidae  
  Superorder Rosanae  


Rosales (roses, elms, figs, and allies)  


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



Subordinate Taxa






Drymocallis agrimonioides

Geum agrimonioides

Potentilla arguta ssp. arguta


Common Names


prairie cinquefoil

tall cinquefoil

tall potentilla

white cinquefoil














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.



On a compound leaf, having the leaflets arranged on opposite sides of a common stalk. On a bryophyte, having branches evenly arranged on opposite sides of a stem.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.



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

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Greg Watson

    tall cinquefoil      

Nancy Falkum


Tall Cinquefoil with Bergamot both blooming

    tall cinquefoil      
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos


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    tall cinquefoil   tall cinquefoil  


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Potentilla arguta PRAIRIE CINQUEFOIL
Frank Mayfield
  Potentilla arguta PRAIRIE CINQUEFOIL  



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Visitor Sightings

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  Greg Watson

Location: King’s and Queen’s Bluff SNA

tall cinquefoil  
  Nancy Falkum

Location: Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA, Weaver Dunes Unit

Tall Cinquefoil with Bergamot both blooming

tall cinquefoil  
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