Sibbaldiopsis tridentata (Three-toothed Cinquefoil)

Plant Info
Also known as: Wineleaf Potentilla
Family:Rosaceae (Rose)
Life cycle:perennial woody
Habitat:sun; poor sandy soil, rocky shores and outcrops, Jack pine forest
Bloom season:June - July
Plant height:4 to 12 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers] Flower clusters of 3 to 25 blooms open at tips of stem and side branches, with the terminal buds opening first. The small white flowers are 1/3 to a bit over ½ inch across with five oval to egg shaped petals, often wrinkled, with triangular sepals about half the petal length, spaced in between. Fully open the petals fall downward with an airy spray of long stamens and carpels in the center.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: compound Leaf type: palmate

[photo of leaves] Leaves are evergreen, alternate and palmately compound with three stalkless, elliptical leaflets, with three toothed notches at the tips. Lower leaves attached by stalk about as long as the central leaflet, upper leaves can be stalkless; a double pointed lance-like appendage (stipule) sheaths the stem. Upper leaf surface is dark, glossy green, undersides light green; both surfaces covered in sparse hairs. Herbaceous branches are hairy, green to reddish green, growing annually from the woody crown and are more spreading than upright.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] The sepals fold up forming an envelop containing tiny, hairy brown seeds.


Thriving in droughty habitats with poor soils where there is little competition, Three-toothed Cinquefoil can be grown in the home landscape but will not compete well with other plants, especially in better soils, but may do well in a sunny rock garden. Also called Wineleaf Potentilla, the leaves take on a rich burgundy fall color.

Native Plant Nurseries, Restoration and Landscaping Services ↓

Map of native plant resources in the upper midwest

  • Morning Sky Greenery - Native Prairie Plants
  • Natural Shore Technologies - Using science to improve land and water
  • Minnesota Native Landscapes - Your Ecological Problem Solvers
  • Spangle Creek Labs - Native orchids, lab propagated
  • Prairie Restorations - Bringing people together with the land

More photos

Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken along the north shore of Lake Superior in Lake County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Phyllis F - Twin Cities
on: 2017-05-11 07:54:28

Will this survive road salt?

Posted by: gary - Cook County
on: 2019-06-15 13:22:47

In rock crevices along the shore of Lake Superior.

Posted by: Kate Gipp - Magnetic Rock Trail on the Gunflint Trail
on: 2022-07-23 22:53:45

We went on a hike on the Magnetic Rock Trail on the Gunflint Trail. The plants were located in the crevices of the bare open rock that is part of the trail. The soil was poor and the rocks were hot to the touch but there were many blooming plants!

Post a comment

Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out. An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission.

For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc.), please check the links and invasive species pages for additional resources.


Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because Id like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. Thanks for your understanding.