Plants and Animals
Potentilla canadensis Canada cinquefoil
Prostrate, stoloniferous herb of grasslands; stolons 0.5 to 1.0 cm wide; terminal leaflet toothed only halfway to the base; peduncle of the lowest flower arising in the axil of the lowest leaf on the stolon. Many specimens previously referred to P. canadensis from throughout its range are now referred to P. simplex, which has wider stolons.
Status and Rank
US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G5 - Secure
State Rank: SNR - Not ranked
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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.
The habitat of this species is not well documented in Michigan, or elsewhere, due to taxonomic confusion with P. simplex. Appears to occur in prairie-like habitats, including dry open woods and savannas, often in sandy soil.
Natural Community Types
- Dry-mesic northern forest
- Dry-mesic prairie
- Dry-mesic southern forest
- Oak barrens
- Oak openings
- Oak-pine barrens
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.
The limited data on associates includes hickories (Carya spp.), hawthorns (Crataegus spp.), horsetails (Equisetum spp.), wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), and wild geranium (Geranium maculatum).
A status survey is needed for this species, in large part to better understand habitat requirements. This species will likely benefit from management that reduces woody encroachment, including prescribed fire and mechanical brush removal.
Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgment of the investigator.
Survey Period: From third week of May to fourth week of September
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- Nelson, J.R. 1984. Rare Plant Field Survey Guidelines. In: J.P. Smith and R. York. Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California. 3rd Ed. California Native Plant Society, Berkeley. 174pp.
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- Nelson, J.R. 1987. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques for Impact Assessment. In: Conservation and management of rare and endangered plants. Ed. T.S. Elias. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento. 8pp.
- Ertter, B., R. Elven, J.L. Reveal, and D.F. Murray. 2014. Potentilla. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 19+ vols. New York and Oxford. Vol. 9, pp. 121–176. Available at: http://www.efloras.org.
- Fernald, M.L. 1931. Potentilla canadensis and P. simplex. Rhodora 33(393):180–191.
- Gleason, H. A., and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second edition. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. 910pp.
- Gray, A. 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany; eighth ed. Van Nostrand Reinghold, New York. 1632pp.
- Holmgren, N.H. 1998. Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the vascular plants of Northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. 937pp.
- Reznicek, A.A., E.G. Voss, and B.S. Walters. 2011. Potentilla canadensis L. Michigan Flora Online. University of Michigan. Web. Available at: https://www.michiganflora.net/species.aspx?id=2843 [Accessed March 31, 2020].
- Voss, E.G., and A.A. Reznicek. 2012. Field Manual of Michigan Flora. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MI. 1008 pp.