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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

26. Rosaceae, the Rose Family

2. Potentilla L. -- Cinquefoil

3. Potentilla palustris (L.) Scop. -- Bog cinquefoil


Perennial from a long, stout rhizome; stems ascending to sprawling or floating, often rooting at the nodes, sparingly branched, woody at the base, 3-8 dm long, glabrous below, pubescent above, the hairs often gland-tipped. Leaves cauline, long-petioled below to subsessile above, pinnate to subpalmate, with (3)5-7 leaflets, these oblong to elliptic, 3-10 cm long, 0.8-3.5 cm wide, glaucous beneath, sharply serrate; stipules winging the petioles of lower leaves, becoming shorter, broader and foliaceous upward. Flowers few to many in open cymes, single or paired from the axils; sepals dark red or purplish at least on the inside, ovate to lanceolate, acuminate, 6-20 mm long; petals 5(10), very dark red, elliptic to oblanceolate or spatulate, apiculate or cuspidate at the tip, 3-5 mm long; stamens ca. 25, dark red; styles laterally attached. Achenes reddish to golden brown, obliquely ovoid, plump, 1-1.2 mm long, smooth. Jun--Aug. Bogs and swamps; rare, with records from McHenry and Bottineau counties, ND; (Greenl. and Labr. to AK, s to NJ, OH, IA, ND, WY and CA).
GIF- Distribution Map

Map key


Previous Species -- Potentilla norvegica L. -- Strawberryweed
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