Synonyms: Potentilla fruticosa Other names: bush cinquefoil Nomenclature: floribunda = profusely flowered Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant
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General: spreading to erect shrub, about 10-100 cm tall, the young branches silky-hairy but soon almost hairless and with reddish-brown, shredding bark.
Leaves: alternate, numerous, the blades pinnately compound with usually 5 crowded leaflets that are 10-20 mm long, linear to narrowly elliptic-oblong, entire, often rolled back lengthwise, flat-silky-hairy and more or less grayish, especially beneath. Stipules brownish-papery, sheathing, projecting into ovate to lanceolate tips.
Flowers: yellow, with 5 broad petals, 8-13 mm long. Flowers single in the leaf axils or 3-7 in small, rather open, terminal clusters. Calyx non-glandular, soft-hairy, the sepals ovate-triangular, pointed, spreading, 4-6 mm long. Calyx bracteoles narrowly lanceolate, often longer than the sepals. Stamens 25-30. Pistils numerous, the style club-shaped, up to twice as long as the stiff-hairy ovary.
Fruits: mature achenes 1.5-1.8 mm long, ovoid, light brown, densely covered with long, white, straight hairs.
Wet to dry, often rocky sites, plains to subalpine zone, in most parts of MT. Also from AK to CO, NM and e. on the plains to Labrador, NJ, PA, IA, and in Eurasia.
Shrubby cinquefoil can be grown as a medium size informal hedge. It is best trimmed in spring. Some cultivated forms, notably 'Longacre', 'Elizabeth' and 'Gold Drop' have a dense spreading habit and make good ground cover plants. The plant is also sometimes used for controlling soil erosion along highways. The dry, flaky bark has been used as a tinder for friction fires, by rubbing 2 pieces of wood together very fast. The leaves were used by the Blackfoot Indians as a packing material in pillows.
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