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Potentilla plattensis
Potentilla plattensis (Platte River Cinquefoil)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Montane. Moist meadows. Summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, July 9, 2008.

This tiny Potentilla is difficult to find because it buries itself in the greenery of wet meadows.  It has pinnately cut, fern-like, basal leaves, few stem leaves, and flower stems from four to eight inches long.  Sepals and leaves are hairy.  The bright flowers are what lead you to the plant. 

P. plattensis is found in strangely scattered populations in the Rocky Mountain states.  There are a few populations in northern North Dakota, rare occurrences in southern Montana, common occurrences in the mountains of Wyoming, and scattered occurrences in a few counties of Utah, Arizona, and Colorado.  Perhaps P. plattensis is more widely distributed, but since it is so minute, it has proven to be just too difficult to find.   The plants shown on this page are the first found in the Four Corners area.

The plant was first collected for science by Thomas Nuttall on the "Plains of the Platte" (quotation from Intermountain Flora), probably on his western 1834-1837 trip with the Wyeth Expedition.  Nuttall named the plant in 1840.

Potentilla plattensis
Potentilla plattensis (Platte River Cinquefoil)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Montane. Moist meadows. Summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, June 6, 2009.

Potentilla plattensis
Potentilla plattensis (Platte River Cinquefoil)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Montane. Moist meadows. Summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, July 9, 2008.

Potentilla plattensis
Potentilla plattensis (Platte River Cinquefoil)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Montane. Moist meadows. Summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, July 9, 2008.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Potentilla plattensis