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Potentilla pulcherrima

Potentilla pulcherrima. Synonym: Potentilla gracilis variety pulcherrima. (Beautiful Cinquefoil)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Montane, subalpine. Meadows, openings. Summer.
Navajo Lake Trail, July 6, 2004.

The palmate leaf of this very common Potentilla quickly distinguishes it from the ladder-like arrangement of leaves on P. hippiana, another very common PotentillaP. pulcherrima often grows to nearly two feet long (although it commonly reclines, as in this photograph) and is the most common Potentilla species in high mountain meadows.  Notice that these "cinque"-foil leaves actually have seven, not five, divisions, probably the result of the common hybridization of P. hippiana and P. pulcherrima

Linnaeus named this genus and Lehman named this species in 1830 from a specimen collected by Thomas Drummond in Canada, in about 1830. "Pulcherrima" is Latin for "very beautiful".

David Douglas collected seeds from plants "on the banks of the Columbia and the plains of the Multnomah rivers" and these were then grown in England. Douglas named the plant Potentilla gracilis in 1830. The species has endured dozen of names since then and has often been confused with or combined with P. gracilis.

Weber indicates that P. pulcherrima differs markedly from P. gracilis in its dense hairiness on the underside of the leaflet.

Potentilla pulcherrima
Potentilla pulcherrima. Synonym: Potentilla gracilis variety pulcherrima. (Beautiful Cinquefoil)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Montane, subalpine. Meadows, openings. Summer.
Navajo Lake Trail, July 6, 2004.

Potentilla pulcherrima

Potentilla pulcherrima

Potentilla pulcherrima. Synonym: Potentilla gracilis variety pulcherrima. (Beautiful Cinquefoil)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Montane, subalpine. Meadows, openings. Summer.
Navajo Lake Trail, July 6, 2004.
Navajo Lake Trail, September 9, 2004.

The silvery-haired backside, evenly toothed margins, and shiny green top-side of P. pulcherrima help identify it. (The red runners in both photographs and the tri-foliate leaves in the bottom photograph, are those of Wild Strawberry.)

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

Potentilla pulcherrima

Range map for Potentilla pulcherrima