[Cinquefoils: The Genera Comarum, Dasiphora, Drymocallis and Potentilla East of the Cascade Crest of Oregon and Washington]

Sticky Cinquefoil

Drymocallis glandulosa

Synonym: Potentilla glandulosa

Potentilla glandulosa

Drymocallis glabrata from near Chewelah Peak, Colville N.F. in northeastern Washington.........June 23, 2006.

Photo at right of Drymocallis glabrata from alongside Oregon Highway 204 near Tollgate, Or.......July 6, 1999.

As its name implies, sticky cinquefoil has glandular herbage with a sticky texture. It is a perennial with one to several spreading to erect stems from 15-70 cm high. The stems are typically unbranched below the inflorescence. The leaves are pinnately compound with 5-9 leaflets, all the lower ones opposite on the midvein and the terminal one single. The leaflets are 1-3 cm long and obovate or oblong-obovate in shape with single- or double-toothed margins. The stem leaves are much smaller and reduced in size upward on the stems.

The inflorescence is a few-flowered, open to dense cyme. The branches of the cyme vary from erect to spreading. A number of reduced to large, leaf-like bracts are found within the cyme. The petals vary from yellow-white to a deep yellow. The stamens usually number 25-40 and the pistils are numerous. Depending on the variety, the petals vary from much shorter than the sepals to much longer than the sepals.

Varieties of Sticky Cinquefoil Found East of the Cascade Mts.:

John Day Cinquefoil: Drymocallis campanulata (Synonyms: Potentilla campanulata, Potentilla glandulosa, Potentilla glandulosa var. campanulata) - Petals 2-4 mm longer than the sepals. Sepals and petals erect, giving the flower a cup-like appearance. Plants are typically very glandular-hairy all over. Endemic to the John Day Valley of northcentral Oregon.

Sticky Cinquefoil: Drymocallis glabrata (Synonyms: Potentilla glandulosa, Potentilla glandulosa ssp. glabrata, Potentilla glandulosa ssp. intermedia, Potentilla glandulosa var. intermedia) - Petals range from 0.5-1.5 mm longer than the sepals. Petals lemon to butter-yellow. Plants from 30-60 cm tall. Inflorescence with leafy bracts and few, usually erect branches. From the eastern foothills of the Cascades of Washington east (sporadically) to Idaho, northeastern Oregon, and Montana, Colorado, and northern Utah where it is more common.

Sticky Cinquefoil: Drymocallis glandulosa var. glandulosa (Synonyms: Drymocallis glandulosa, Potentilla glandulosa ssp. glandulosa, Potentilla glandulosa ssp. typica, Potentilla glandulosa var. glandulosa, Potentilla glandulosa var. incisa, Potentilla rhomboidea, Potentilla valida) - Petals about equal in length to the sepals. Petals often ascending or erect. Inflorescence with leaf-like bracts. From southern British Columbia south to Baja California and east to eastern Washington, western Idaho, and northeastern Oregon.

Montana Sticky Cinquefoil, Sticky Cinquefoil: Drymocallis glandulosa var. reflexa (Synonyms: Potentilla glandulosa ssp. reflexa, Potentilla glandulosa var. reflexa, Potentilla reflexa) - Petals about 1 mm shorter than the sepals. Petals spreading to reflexed. Inflorescence often with reduced, nonleafy bracts. From Wasco County, Oregon sporadically south along the east side of the Cascades to northern California, where more common through the Sierra Nevada to southern California.

Austin's Drymocallis, Austin's Woodbeauty: Drymocallis lactea var. austiniae (Synonym: Potentilla glandulosa var. austiniae) - Inflorescences wide with branch angles 20-40 degrees. Petals relatively large and overlapping, pale to bright yellow. Petals usuallly longer than sepals. Stems and pedicels sometimes moderately glandular hairy. Inflorescence not leafy bracteate. Leaflets singly toothed with 4-10 teeth usually found per side.

Nevada Cinquefoil: Drymocallis lactea var. lactea (Synonyms: Potentilla glandulosa ssp. nevadensis, Potentilla glandulosa var. nevadensis, Potentilla pumila) - Petals canary yellow to nearly white and at least 1 mm or more longer than the sepals. Herbage eglandular hairy, at least in part.

Cliff Drymocallis, Rocky Mountain Sticky Cinquefoil, Sticky Cinquefoil: Drymocallis pseudorupestris var. saxicola (Synonyms: Potentilla glandulosa, Potentilla glandulosa ssp. pseudorupestris, Potentilla glandulosa var. pseudorupestris) - petals range from 0.5-1.5 mm longer than the sepals. Petals nearly white, to cream or light canary yellow. Plants often less than 3 dm tall. The inflorescence is often more open but seldom with leaf-like bracts. About the same range as variety intermedia.

Photo at righ is of the leaf of Drymocallis glabrata from Buckhorn C.G. in the Wallowa-Whitman N.F.......July 7, 1999.

Sticky cinquefoil may be found on moist soils in grasslands, meadows, and in the sagebrush desert, or in moist, open woodlands.


Sticky cinquefoil may be found from southwestern British Columbia south to northern Baja California, and eastward to Southwestern Alberta. There it may be found southward through the Rockies to Utah and Arizona.


Sticky Cinquefoil: Drymocallis glandulosa var. glandulosa

Drymocallis glandulosa ( variety glandulosa) from near Conboy National Wildlife Refuge..... June 19, 1993.

Drymocallis glandulosa var. reflexa from near Cottonwood Meadows, Fremont N.F......July 15, 1998.

Drymocallis glandulosa var. reflexa from near Cottonwood Meadows, Fremont N.F......July 15, 1998.

Paul Slichter