Sulfur Cinquefoil

Sulfur Cinquefoil

Potentilla Recta

Sulfur cinquefoil is a herbaceous perennial that regrows from a root crown every spring. This List B species has palm-shaped (palmate) leaves with 5 to 9 toothed leaflets that are 1¼ -3½ inch long and ¼-¾ inch wide. The majority of the leaves grow on the stem with leaves growing smaller as they go up the stem. The leaf surfaces are green above and below and are sparsely hairy.

Flowers are light yellow with five petals that are notched. The center of the flowers is usually a darker yellow with the stamens and pistils very evident. The flowers are in branched groups at the end of the stems. Flowering occurs May-July.

Stems are slender, light green to reddish-green and sometimes whitish. The stems branch towards the upper third of their length. There are hairs along the stems that tend to be at right angles. The hairs are less evident on older stems. Plants can reach three+ feet tall but usually are less than two feet tall. Plants can last 10+ years with some as long as 20 years.

The roots are a taproot with fibrous horizontal roots.

Reproduction is from seed. The seeds have a net-patterned covering.

Sulfur cinquefoil contains tannins and is unpalatable to livestock and wildlife. It outcompetes forage plants and can invade native areas. It is found in pastures, rangelands, roadsides, grasslands, shrubby areas, open forest, and other disturbed sites.

This member of the Rose family was introduced from Eurasia.


Illinois Wildflowers