Potentilla recta (Sulphur Cinquefoil)

Plant Info
Also known as: Rough-fruited Cinquefoil
Genus:Potentilla
Family:Rosaceae (Rose)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:Europe
Habitat:sun; fields, prairies, along roads
Bloom season:June - August
Plant height:12 to 30 inches
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

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

[photo of flowers] Flowers are in loose clusters at the top of the plant and the end of stems branching near the top of the plant. Individual flowers are about ¾ inch across with 5 pale yellow heart-shaped petals that have a smudge of brighter yellow at the base. There are numerous yellow stamens with yellowish brown tips surrounding the bright yellow center.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: compound Leaf type: palmate

[photo of leaves] Leaves are palmately compound in groups of 3 to 7; leaves at the base of the plant have long stalks and more leaflets, those near the top are smaller, have 3 leaflets and are stalkless. Leaflets are rounded at the tip, tapering at the base, strongly toothed, hairy, up to 3 inches long and 1 inch wide with the middle leaflet largest. Stems and leaf stalks are covered in long white hairs.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] The sepals fold up creating a capsule-like container. Inside are numerous brown seeds.

Notes:

Sulphur Cinquefoil is easily identified by its pale yellow flowers and palmate leaves. The flowers vaguely resemble Tall Cinquefoil (Potentilla arguta), but its flowers are white and its leaves are pinnately compound rather than palmate.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.

Comments

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

Posted by: Dianne - Dakota County
on: 2009-07-12 22:04:04

This plant grows in southern Dakota county, MN. Seen in July 2009 in a farming area growing in partial shade. Photo available.

Posted by: Ann - Edina
on: 2011-07-02 18:40:29

I have seen only one plant along the path in Walnut Ridge Park which is near a swampy area which the north branch of Nine Mile Creek runs through.

Posted by: Alan - Brainerd
on: 2011-07-04 17:08:00

We have several of these plants now blooming in our wild flower meadow. Full sun.

Posted by: Denis - Palmer Twsp., Sherburne Co.
on: 2012-06-15 16:47:55

I have quite a lot of Cinquefoil that looks like this except that the flower is always yellow. In Fassett's, SPRING FLORA OF WISCONSIN, Potentilla recta is the only plant that has the leaf structure.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2012-06-15 17:07:23

Denis, perhaps what you have is Potentilla simplex, common cinquefoil. The flowers are bright yellow and leaves have a similar structure, though it is more of a sprawling plant, not erect like P. recta.

Posted by: Jessica - Father Hennipen State Park
on: 2012-07-07 21:02:04

I have seen these in full sun on the side of the road in father hennipen park, they are very pretty

Posted by: Monique - Blue Mounds State Park
on: 2013-06-27 00:15:58

Saw them today at Blue Mounds State Park. They were different from P. arguta, also seen today, by the color of the flower, shorter height, and palmate leaves.

Posted by: Jared - Washington county, stillwater
on: 2013-10-12 22:24:56

There is some of this cinquefoil growing in the woods behind the highschool.

Posted by: Alan - Harris, Chisago County
on: 2014-06-29 17:26:47

Hayfield of a church west of I-35 Harris exit.

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