To date, little is still known about how alpine species occurring in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) responded to past climatic oscillations. Here, by using variations of the chloroplast trnT-L, we examined the genetic distribution pattern of 101 individuals of Potentilla glabra, comprising both the interior QTP and the plateau edge. Phylogenetic and network analyses of 31 recovered haplotypes identified three tentative clades (A, B and C). Analysis of molecular variance (amova) revealed that most of the genetic variability was found within populations (0.693), while differentiations between populations were obviously distinct (Fst= 0.307). Two independent range expansions within clades A and B occurring at approximately 316 and 201 thousand years ago (kya) were recovered from the hierarchical mismatch analysis, and these two expansions were also confirmed by Fu's FS values and ‘g’ tests. However, distant distributions of clade C and private haplotypes from clades A and B suggest that they had survived the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and previous glaciers in situ since their origins. Our findings based on available limited samples support that multiple refugia of a few cold-enduring species had been maintained in the QTP platform during LGM and/or previous glacial stages.