Potentilla anserina (Silverweed Cinquefoil)

Plant Info
Also known as: Silver-weed
Family:Rosaceae (Rose)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; wet sandy shores, wet meadows
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:2 to 8 in., 1 to 3 ft. runner
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals

[photo of flower] Flowers are yellow, about ¾ inch across with 5 rounded petals (sometimes more) and many short yellow stamens clustered in the center. A single flower is at the end of an erect naked stalk 1 to 6 inches long that sprouts from a node in the runner.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: compound

[photo of leaves] Leaves are compound, 7 or more sharply toothed leaflets with small leaflets between each larger leaflet. Leaflets are to 1 inch long and ½ inch wide, becoming larger as they go up the leaf stalk. The underside is silvery from long white hairs. A leaf may be up to 12 inches long, but most often much less. A cluster of leaves sprouts from a node in the runner, separate from the flower stalk. The leaves tend to fan out, lying prostrate, but may be erect. Stems are red and sparsely covered in long white hairs.


Silverweed Cinquefoil often goes by Latin name Argentina anserina, but the accepted name in Minnesota is Potentilla anserina. When I first discovered this plant, all I saw were some yellow flowers that looked like they sprouted out of the ground all by themselves. The leaves were several inches away and I didn't notice the runner at all until I really started looking closer. After that it was easier to spot the leaf clusters to find more plants.

Native Plant Nurseries, Restoration and Landscaping Services ↓

Map of native plant resources in the upper midwest

  • Landscape Alternatives
  • ReWild Native Gardens
  • Out Back Nursery
  • Shop for native seeds and plants at PrairieMoon.com!
  • Shooting Star Native Seeds - Native Prairie Grass and Wildflower Seeds

More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, Anoka County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County and in North Dakota.


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

Posted by: Stuart S - Cook County ..hwy. 61..just west of Chateau Leveaux
on: 2017-06-27 14:34:05

Leaves and flower off separate stems.

Posted by: Paulette - Ontario, Canada Zone 4
on: 2023-02-15 10:38:16

I have used this plant as spiller in perennial containers.

Posted by: Nadine Thiel
on: 2024-06-09 18:23:22

6/9/2024, roadside in NW Grant county.

Post a comment

Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the spammers out. An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission.

For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc.), please check the links and invasive species pages for additional resources.


Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because Id like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. Thanks for your understanding.