Sulphur Cinquefoil
Potentilla recta L.
Family: Rosaceae, Rose
Genus: Potentilla
Other names: erect cinquefoil
Nomenclature: recta = upright
Nativity / Invasiveness: noxious weed in Montana
Edible plant
Medicinal plant

General: perennial with an erect, simple to branched base but without rootstocks, sparsely to rather copiously stiff-hairy and with more abundant, finer, shorter, sometimes glandular hairs, greenish throughout. Stems one to few, erect, branched above, very leafy, about 30-80 cm tall.

Leaves: alternate, palmately divided. Leaflets 5-7, oblanceolate, strongly veined, 3-8 cm long, sharply toothed about halfway to the midvein. Stipules lanceolate to ovate, 1-2 cm long, the upper ones cut into 2 or more strips.

Flowers: many in flat-topped clusters, with leafy bracts at the lower nodes, the branches ascending. Petals 5, pale yellow, obovate, notched, equal to or up to 3 mm longer than the sepals. Calyx up to 12 mm broad, the lobes strongly veined, more or less sharp-pointed, 5-9 mm long, enlarging after flowering. Stamens usually 25. Pistils many, style somewhat thickened and glandular-warty near the base, attached near the top. June-July.

Fruits: achenes strongly net-veined, slightly keeled on the outer edge, brownish-purple, 1 mm long.


Disturbed areas, sometimes as a weed, in w. parts of MT. Introduced from Eurasia, now spread mostly in e. U.S.
Edible Uses

The fruit of sulphur cinquefoil is edible, raw or cooked. The unripe fruit is reportedly almost as pleasant as the fully ripe fruit.

Medicinal Uses

The whole plant has agents that cause tissue to contract. The Okanagan-Colville Indians used a poultice of the pounded leaves and stems applied to open sores and wounds.

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