Potentilla argentea (Silver Cinquefoil)

Plant Info
Also known as: Silvery Cinquefoil
Family:Rosaceae (Rose)
Life cycle:perennial
  • Weedy
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):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals

[photo of flowers] 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: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: compound Leaf type: palmate

[photo of leaves] 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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More photos

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?

Posted by: Ruth Ann - Cook County
on: 2011-07-25 17:27:29

I'm looking for info on potentilla fruticosa and potentilla tridentata, both of which are abundant on the shore of Lake Superior.

Posted by: Amber, SE of Bemidji
on: 2012-09-12 12:58:40

This is in my pastures and hay field. What can I do to control it?

Posted by: David - Hubbard County, south of Park Rapids
on: 2013-07-16 11:01:59

I believe this plant grows in my pasture. My horses will not eat it. Is it native? Is it considered to be noxious?

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2013-07-17 19:38:49

David, it is a weedy non-native but not on any "noxious" weed list for Minnesota.

Posted by: Avi - Kanabec
on: 2023-07-02 14:23:02

We've got some Potentilla Argentea in our area of Kanabec. Should we consider preventing the growth or is it non-invasive?

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2023-07-02 18:14:54

Avi, I consider this species essentially a lawn weed, but less troublesome than dandelions or creeping charlie.

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