Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts 8: 560. 1873.
Plants rosetted or ± tufted; caudex branches absent or short-to-elongate, stout to slender. Stems ascending to erect, (0.4–) 1–2 dm, lengths 2–4 times basal leaves. Basal leaves not in ranks, ternate, (1–) 2–5 (–7) cm; stipules: apex acute to rounded; petiole 1–4 cm, hairs absent or long hairs sparse to common, appressed, 0.5–1 mm, stiff, glands absent; leaflets 3, central obovate to flabellate, 1–2.5 × 0.5–2 cm, petiolule (1–) 3–10 mm, margins flat, not lobed, distal 1/2–3/4 ± evenly incised 1/4–1/2 to midvein, teeth (2–) 3 (–4) per side, not secondarily toothed, surfaces similar, green, sometimes ±glaucous, hairs absent or sparse to common, 0.5 mm, glands absent. Inflorescences 1–6-flowered. Pedicels straight, 0.5–2 cm in flower, to 5 cm in fruit. Flowers: epicalyx bractlets elliptic to oval, 2–4.5 × 1–2 mm, margins flat; hypanthium 2.5–4 mm diam.; sepals 3–5.5 mm, apex acute to obtuse; petals yellow, 4–7 × 4–6 mm; filaments 1–3 mm, anthers 0.5–0.9 mm; carpels 10–30, styles filiform, not or slightly papillate-swollen proximally, 1–2.5 mm. Achenes 1.2–1.5 mm.
Phenology: Flowering summer.
Habitat: Moist stream banks, lakeshores, meadows, in conifer woodlands
Elevation: 2000–2800 m
Potentilla grayi occurs on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada from El Dorado County to Tulare County, well within the range of P. flabellifolia. Some collections are intermediate between the two. Potentilla grayi can be distinguished by its tendency to have glabrous or strigose leaves, distinctly petiolulate leaflets with simple teeth, paler yellow petals, and a less-branched caudex.
The report of Potentilla grayi in New Mexico (J. D. Garcia 1970) was based on a specimen of P. norvegica (sect. Rivales).
"dm" is not declared as a valid unit of measurement for this property.