Fl. N. Amer. 1: 442. 1840.
Plants ± openly matted; caudex branches short-to-elongate, ± stout. Stems ascending to erect, (0.3–) 1–3 dm, lengths 2 times basal leaves. Basal leaves 2-ranked, ternate, (1–) 3–12 (–20) cm; stipules: apex rounded; petiole (0.5–) 1–15 (–18) cm, hairs and glands usually absent; leaflets 3, central widely obovate to flabellate, (0.5–) 1–5 × (0.4–) 1–3 (–3.5) cm, petiolule 0–5 (–10) mm, margins flat, not or shallowly lobed (sinuses extending less than 1/2 to midvein), distal 1/2–3/4 usually unevenly incised 1/4–1/2 to midvein, teeth 3–7 per side, often secondarily toothed, surfaces similar, green, hairs absent or sparse, rarely common, 0.5–1 mm, glands absent or sparse. Inflorescences 1–6-flowered. Pedicels straight, 0.3–4.5 (–5) cm, not much longer in fruit than in flower. Flowers: epicalyx bractlets often toothed or 2-lobed, elliptic to oval, 3.5–7 × (1–) 1.5–3 mm, margins flat; hypanthium 3–7 mm diam.; sepals 4–8 mm, apex acute to obtuse; petals dark yellow, (5–) 6–10 (–12) × (3–) 5–10 mm; filaments 1.5–3 mm, anthers 0.6–1.5 mm; carpels 20–50, styles filiform, not or slightly papillate-swollen proximally, 1.6–2.5 mm. Achenes 1.2–1.5 mm. 2n = 28.
Phenology: Flowering summer.
Habitat: Moist to wet or swampy, sometimes dry, stream banks, lakeshores, meadows, in conifer woodlands, subalpine and alpine grassy, rocky slopes, near or above timberline
Elevation: 1000–3700 m
Alta., B.C., Calif., Idaho, Mont., Nev., Oreg., Wash., Wyo.
Potentilla flabellifolia is found in the mountains from southern British Columbia, southwestern Alberta, and southwestern Montana to the southern Sierra Nevada of California.
"dm" is not declared as a valid unit of measurement for this property.