Potentilla recta L. - Five-fingered Cinquefoil

Potentilla recta plant

Family - Rosaceae

Stems - To +50cm tall, herbaceous, hirsute (with simple and gland-tipped pubescence), branching, multiple from base, from thick caudex.

Potentilla recta stem

Leaves - Alternate, petiolate to sessile, palmately compound, stipulate. Stipules to 3.5cm long, -1cm broad, hirsute, lance-ovate, laciniate in upper portions. Petioles to +11cm long, hirsute to pilose, with some gland-tipped pubescence. Blades with 5-7 leaflets. Leaflets serrate, oblanceolate, to +8cm long, +2.5cm broad, hirsute to pilose below, pubescent above. Upper leaves becoming sessile, typically trifoliolate.

Potentilla recta plant

Inflorescence - Terminal loose cymes. Pedicels pilose to hirsute, often subtended by reduced foliaceous bracts.

Flowers - Petals 5, yellow to pale yellow, glabrous, obcordate to emarginate, 1.5cm long and broad. Stamens many (+20). Filaments filiform, to 4mm long. Anthers yellow, 1.8mm long. Carpels many, yellowish. Styles thick near base, tuberculate, yellow. Hypanthium cup-shaped, +6mm broad, pilose to hirsute. Bracts subtending sepals 5, lanceolate, 3-nerved, to 1cm long, 3mm broad. Sepals subulate to ovate-lanceolate, keeled, to 8mm long, 4.5mm broad, hirsute to pilose. Calyx accrescent. Achenes oblique-ovate, to 1.3mm long, slightly winged on margins.

Potentilla recta calyxCalyx.

Potentilla recta flower

Flowering - May - August.

Habitat - Fields, meadows, pastures, waste ground, disturbed sites, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to Europe.

Other info. - P. recta is a common roadsides weed throughout Missouri. If left untouched it can form large clumps, as shown above. The flowers of this species are quite showy and the species is suitable for a low maintenance garden. Care should be taken not to spread the plant in the wild as it is introduced. There are many other species of Potentilla growing wild in Missouri, this is the most showy.

Photographs taken somewhere in NC., 5-16-03.


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