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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin


(Potentilla fruticosa L.)

Shrubby cinquefoil

ROSE FAMILY (Rosaceae)


FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: A low, bushy, deciduous shrub with woody stems usually 20-50 cm. tall, but can be up to 1 m. high. Leaves are pinnately compound with 5-7 fuzzy leaflets that are gray-green and about 1-2 cm. long. The five-petaled flowers are yellow, 2-3 cm. wide, and solitary to few at the ends of branches. In flower from May to October.

ECOLOGICAL NOTES: Shrubby cinquefoil occurs on calcareous soils, particularly in calcareous fens. Occasionally, it is found in wet to wet-mesic prairies bogs and along shores. It tends to increase aggressively with declining water levels. A horticultural variety of this species is used for landscape. A synonym is Pentaphylloides floribunda (Kartesz 1994).

SOURCE: Fassett (1976); Gleason and Cronquist (1991); and Swink and Wilhelm (1994).

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