Potentilla paradoxa
Sand cinquefoil

Key Characteristics

Annual or short-lived perennial of sandy Lake Erie storm beaches; stems branched and reclining, with pinnately compound leaves, not white-hairy below; inflorescence much-branched, bearing terminal yellow flowers with small petals (5-7 mm long).

Status and Rank

  • State Status: T - Threatened (legally protected)
  • State Rank: SU - Unrankable
  • Global Rank: G5 - Secure


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Distribution map for Potentilla paradoxa

Updated 2/25/2015. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Known only from a 1949 collection along a barrier beach in Monroe County, where it was found in loose sand. Elsewhere this species is known from prairies, shores, bottoms, and damp places.

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Feel free to send questions and comments to Brad Slaughter at slaugh14@msu.edu.

Associated Plants

No data are available concerning associates in Michigan.


The primary need for this species is a status survey. If found, it would likely require maintenance of long-term shoreline processes like beach building and erosion. Protection from foot traffic and development would also be necessary.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgment of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/explorer [Accessed Nov 25, 2015]


Survey References

Technical References