Sibbaldiopsis tridentata (Three-toothed Cinquefoil)
|Also known as:||Wineleaf Potentilla|
|Life cycle:||perennial woody|
|Habitat:||sun; poor sandy soil, rocky shores and outcrops, Jack pine forest|
|Bloom season:||June - July|
|Plant height:||4 to 12 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flower clusters of 3 to 25 blooms open at tips of stem and side branches, with the terminal buds opening first. The small white flowers are 1/3 to a bit over ½ inch across with five oval to egg shaped petals, often wrinkled, with triangular sepals about half the petal length, spaced in between. Fully open the petals fall downward with an airy spray of long stamens and carpels in the center.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are evergreen, alternate and palmately compound with three stalkless, elliptical leaflets, with three toothed notches at the tips. Lower leaves attached by stalk about as long as the central leaflet, upper leaves can be stalkless; a double pointed lance-like appendage (stipule) sheaths the stem. Upper leaf surface is dark, glossy green, undersides light green; both surfaces covered in sparse hairs. Herbaceous branches are hairy, green to reddish green, growing annually from the woody crown and are more spreading than upright.
Thriving in droughty habitats with poor soils where there is little competition, Three-toothed Cinquefoil can be grown in the home landscape but will not compete well with other plants, especially in better soils, but may do well in a sunny rock garden. Also called Wineleaf Potentilla, the leaves take on a rich burgundy fall color.
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Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken along the north shore of Lake Superior in Lake County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?