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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

Potentilla L. -- Cinquefoil


Annual and perennial herbs (woody at the base in P. palustris), erect, decumbent, sprawling or stoloniferous. Leaves pinnately or palmately compound, alternate or mostly basal, petiolate to subsessile, stipulate; leaflets 3-many, oblong to elliptic or obovate, serrate. Flowers perfect, regular, perigynous; calyx of 5 persistent sepals, these alternating with several to many, entire to toothed bractlets which are usually narrower and shorter than the sepals, the sepals and bractlets fused at the base to form a saucer-shaped hypanthium; corolla of usually 5 yellow (dark red in P. palustris) petals which are attached near the summit of the hypanthium; stamens many, usually 10-25; pistils numerous, simple, styles simple, laterally or nearly basally attached to the ovary, deciduous. Fruit an aggregate of many small, smooth to ridged achenes, surrounded by the persistent hypanthium.

Lead Characteristic Go To
1 Petals very dark red; plants woody at the base. P. palustris
1 Petals yellow; plants herbaceous throughout. Lead 2
2 Plants extensively stoloniferous; leaves white-tomentose beneath. P. anserina
2 Plants lacking stolons; leaves green, glabrous to hirsute beneath. Lead 3
3 Leaves pinnately compound with 7-11 leaflets. P. paradoxa
3 Leaves palmately compound with 3-7 leaflets. Lead 4
4 Achene surface ridged at maturity; petals 2.5-4 mm long, nearly equaling the sepals; leaflets 3 (rarely 5). P. norvegica
4 Achene surface smooth; petals 1-1.5(2) mm long, much smaller than the sepals; leaflets 3-7. P. rivalis


26. Rosaceae, the Rose Family
2. Potentilla L. -- Cinquefoil
1. Potentilla anserina L. -- Silverweed
2. Potentilla norvegica L. -- Strawberryweed
3. Potentilla palustris (L.) Scop. -- Bog cinquefoil
4. Potentilla paradoxa Nutt. ex Torr. & Gray -- Bushy cinquefoil
5. Potentilla rivalis Nutt. -- Brook cinquefoil


Return to Family -- Rosaceae - The Rose Family
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