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Sulphur cinquefoil (Potentilla recta)

Sulphur cinquefoil Common Names: Roughfruit cinquefoil

Description: Used for its medicinal properties. Also fruit of plant is edible.

Habit: Erect; perennial; 16-32 in tall; hairy forb; unbranched to the inflorescence; woody taproot with short branch roots, no rhizomes.

Leaves: Palmately-divided, deeply-toothed, lower leaves long-stalked with 5-7 leaflets; upper leaves smaller, shorter stalked and with 3 leaflets.

Stems: Erect; upright; slender; 20-80 cm (8-30 in) tall; upper portion may be branched; long hairs perpendicular to leafstalk and stem.

Flowers: Pale yellow in color, 5-parted, 3/4 in wide, inflorescence of many flowers in flattened, branched cluster (cyme); blooms June through August.

Fruit and seeds: Achene strongly veined, brownish-purple, 1 mm long.

Habitat: Native to Eurasia. Found in dry, disturbed sites.

Reproduction: By seed and vegetatively by sprouting from a caudex.

Similar species: Foliage has some resemblance to Marijuana (Cannabis sativa) but marijuana is taller with different flowers. Other species of Cinquefoil (Potentilla spp.) are difficult to distinguish.

Monitoring and rapid response: Hand-pulling or dig up, or by spot spraying of herbicides. The root crown (upper portion of the root system) must be removed or killed so that plants cannot resprout.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium, USDA PLANTS Database and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

Common Name:

Sulphur cinquefoil

Scientific Name:

Potentilla recta







USDA Symbol: