Potentilla argentea (Silver Cinquefoil)
|Also known as:||Silvery Cinquefoil|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; dry, disturbed soil; fields, waste areas, roadsides|
|Bloom season:||June - September|
|Plant height:||1 to 20 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are ¼ to 1/3 inch across with 5 yellow petals alternating with 5 sharply pointed hairy sepals that are about as long as the petals. A ring of many yellow stamens surrounds the yellow center. Clusters of a few flowers each are at the end of branching stems; not all may bloom at the same time. One plant has a few to many clusters.
Leaves are palmate mostly in groups of 5. Leaflets have several small lobes but are not toothed. The underside is silvery white from dense hairs and is where the common name comes from. Leaves near the base of the plant are largest, about 1 inch long and wide, on stems to 3 inches long. Leaflets become smaller and narrower as they ascend the stem; leaves near the flowers have little or no leaf stem.
Silver Cinquefoil may grow erect but is more often sprawling. Several species in the Rose family have similar flowers, but the leaves are pretty distinctive for each. Silver Cinquefoil is most easily recoginzed by the small palmate leaves that are white on the underside. It is commonly found in lawns and at the edges of roads and sidewalks.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Chisago and Ramsey counties. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?