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Potentilla reptans

(Creeping Cinquefoil)


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Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Catalan, Valencian:

Cinc en rama

Common Names in Chinese:

Pu Fu Wei Ling Cai, 五叶草莓

Common Names in Danish:

Krybende Potentil

Common Names in Dutch:


Common Names in English:

Creeping Cinquefoil, Cinquefoil, European five finger, European Five-Finger, Five-Leaf Grass, woodland cinquefoil

Common Names in Finnish:


Common Names in French:

Potentille rampante, quinte feuille, quintefeuille

Common Names in German:

Kriechendes Fingerkraut

Common Names in Hebrew (modern):

חמשן זוחל

Common Names in Hungarian:

Indás pimpó

Common Names in Korean:


Common Names in Lithuanian:

Penkiapirštė sidabražolė

Common Names in Northern Sami:


Common Names in Polish:

Pięciornik rozłogowy

Common Names in Swedish:



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Family Rosaceae

Trees , shrubs , or herbs, deciduous or evergreen . Stems erect , scandent , arching , prostrate , or creeping, armed or unarmed . Buds usually with several exposed scales , sometimes with only 2. Leaves alternate, rarely opposite, simple or compound ; stipules paired , free or adnate to petiole , rarely absent, persistent or deciduous; petiole usually 2-glandular apically; leaf blade often serrate at margin , rarely entire. Inflorescences various, from single flowers to umbellate , corymbose , racemose or cymose-paniculate. Flowers usually actinomorphic , bisexual , rarely unisexual and then plants dioecious. Hypanthium (formed from basal parts of sepals, petals, and stamens) free from or adnate to ovary, short or elongate . Sepals usually 5, rarely fewer or more, imbricate; epicalyx segments sometimes also present. Petals as many as sepals, inserted below margin of disk, free, imbricate, sometimes absent. Disk lining hypanthium, usually entire, rarely lobed . Stamens usually numerous , rarely few, always in a complete ring at margin of or above disk; filaments usually free, very rarely connate ; anthers small, didymous , rarely elongate, 2-locular. Carpels 1 to many, free, or ± connate and then adnate to inner surface of cupular receptacle; ovary inferior, semi-inferior, or superior; ovules usually 2 in each carpel, rarely 1 or several, anatropous , superposed . Styles as many as carpels, terminal , lateral , or basal, free or sometimes connate. Fruit a follicle, pome, achene, or drupe, rarely a capsule, naked or enclosed in persistent hypanthium and sometimes also by sepals. Seeds erect or pendulous, sometimes winged , usually exalbuminous , very rarely with thin endosperm; cotyledons mostly fleshy and convex abaxially, rarely folded or convolute.

Between 95 and 125 genera and 2825-3500 species: cosmopolitan , mostly in N temperate zone; 55 genera (two endemic) and 950 species (546 endemic) in China.

Many plants of this family are of economic importance and contribute to people s livelihoods. The Rosaceae contain a great number of fruit trees of temperate regions . The fruits contain vitamins, acids, and sugars and can be used both raw and for making preserves, jam, jelly, candy, various drinks, wine, vinegar, etc. The dried fruits of the genera

Amygdalus and Armeniaca are of high commercial value. Some plants in the genus Rosa containing essential oils or with a high vitamin content are used in industry . Rosaceae wood is used for making various articles, stems and roots are used for making tannin extract, and young leaves are used as a substitute for tea. Numerous species are used for medical purposes or are cultivated as ornamentals .

The Rosaceae are very well represented in China, with great economic and scientific importance. The Co-chairs of the Editorial Committee (Wu and Raven) here note that the patterns of relationship are complex and the group is taxonomically difficult. [1]

Genus Potentilla

Herbs perennial , rarely biennial, annual , or shrubs , if perennial then with ± tufted , scaly rootstock . Stems erect , ascending , or prostrate . Leaves pinnate or palmately compound ; stipules ± adnate to petiole . Inflorescence often cymose or cymose-paniculate, or 1-flowered. Flowers usually bisexual . Hypanthium concave , mostly hemispheric . Sepals 5, valvate ; epicalyx segments 5, alternating with sepals. Petals 5, often yellow, rarely white or purple. Stamens usually ca. 20 in 3 series of 10, 5, and 5, rarely fewer or more (11-30) ; anthers 2-loculed. Carpels usually numerous , free , inserted on slightly elevated receptacle; ovule ascending or pendulous, anatropous , amphitropous , or suborthotropous; style subterminal , lateral , or basal. Achenes numerous, inserted on dry receptacle with persistent sepals. Seed testa membranous. x = 7.

About 500 species: mostly in temperate , arctic , and alpine zones of the N hemisphere, a few in the S hemisphere; 86 species (22 endemic) in China.[2]

Physical Description

Species Potentilla reptans

Herbs perennial , stoloniferous . Roots much branched, usually with fusiform , tubers. Stolons 20-100 cm, sparsely pilose or glabrescent , with adventitious roots at nodes. Radical leaves 7-12 cm including petiole ; stipules brown, membranous, abaxially glabrescent; petiole sparsely pilose, appressed sericeous , or glabrescent; leaf blade pedately 5-foliolate, or 3-foliolate; leaflets shortly petiolulate or subsessile , obovate to obovate-oblong, abaxially pilose or appressed sericeous, rarely glabrescent, adaxially subglabrous, base cuneate, margin acutely or obtusely serrate or lobed to parted , sometimes entire, apex obtuse ; stolon leaves resembling radical ones; stipules green, ovate-oblong or ovate-lanceolate, herbaceous, margin entire, rarely 1- or 2-serrate, apex acute or acuminate. Flowers solitary, axillary or opposite leaves, 1.5-2.2 cm in diam.; pedicel 6-9 mm, pilose. Sepals ovate-lanceolate, apex acute; epicalyx segments oblong-elliptic or elliptic-lanceolate, nearly equaling sepals, markedly enlarged in fruit, abaxially pilose, apex obtuse or acute. Petals yellow, broadly obovate, slightly longer than sepals, apex markedly emarginate . Style subterminal , thin at base; stigma dilated . Achenes yellow-brown, ovoid , markedly rugose . Fl. and fr. Apr-Sep. [source]

Habit: Forb/herb

Flowers: Bloom Period: April, May, June.


Size: under 6" tall.


Forest margins , thickets by streams , meadows on mountain slopes , ditch banks, damp field margins; 300--3500 m. [3].

Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 1,840 meters (0 to 6,037 feet).[4]


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Duration: Perennial


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Plumeria acutifolia Poir. • Plumeria tricolor Ruiz and Pav.


Name Status: Accepted Name .

Last scrutiny: 2009

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Potentilla

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 204 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus. Here are just 100 of them:

P. acuminata (Tapertip Cinquefoil) · P. alba (White Cinquefoil) · P. alba 'Snow White' (White Cinquefoil) · P. albiflora (White-Flower Cinquefoil) · P. ambigens (Silkyleaf Cinquefoil) · P. angelliae (Boulder Mountain Cinquefoil) · P. anglica (English Cinquefoil) · P. anserina (Egede Cinquefoil) · P. anserina anserina (Silverweed Cinquefoil) · P. anserina anserina var. anserina (Silver-Weed Cinquefoil) · P. anserina groenlandica (Greenland Silverweed) · P. anserina pacifica (Pacific Silverweed) · P. anserina yukonensis (Yukon Silverweed) · P. anserinoides (Kōwhaikura) · P. arenosa (Bluff Cinquefoil) · P. arenosa chamissonis (Chamisso's Cinquefoil) · P. argentea (Silver Cinquefoil) · P. argentea var. argentea (Silvery Cinquefoil) · P. arguta (Prairie Cinquefoil) · P. atrosanguinea (Himalayan Cinquefoil) · P. atrosanguinea 'Etna' (Himalayan Cinquefoil) · P. atrosanguinea 'Gibson's Scarlet' (Himalayan Cinquefoil) · P. atrosanguinea 'Rot' (Cinquefoil) · P. atrosanguinea 'Yellow Queen' (Himalayan Cinquefoil) · P. basaltica (Soldier Meadows Cinquefoil) · P. biennis (Biennial Cinquefoil) · P. biflora (Twoflower Cinquefoil) · P. bimundorum (Staghorn Cinquefoil) · P. bipinnatifida (Tansy Cinquefoil) · P. brevifolia (Sparseleaf Cinquefoil) · P. canadensis (Dwarf Cinquefoil) · P. canadensis var. canadensis (Common Cinquefoil) · P. canadensis var. villosissima (Common Cinquefoil) · P. cinerea (Abbotswood Potentilla) · P. collina (Palmleaf Cinquefoil) · P. concinna (Early Cinquefoil) · P. concinna divisa (Divided Leaved Cinquefoil) · P. cottamii (Cottam's Cinquefoil) · P. crantzii (Northern Cinquefoil) · P. crebridens hemicryophila (Beringian Cinquefoil) · P. crinita (Bearded Cinquefoil) · P. cristae (Crested Cinquefoil) · P. daucifolia (Carrotleaf Horkelia) · P. discolor (Discolor Cinquefoil) · P. diversifolia (Mountain-Meadow Cinquefoil) · P. drummondii (Drummond's Cinquefoil) · P. drummondii bruceae (Brewer's Potentilla) · P. effusa (Branched Cinquefoil) · P. elegans (Silverweed) · P. erecta (Common Tormentil) · P. erecta erecta (Erect Cinquefoil) · P. erecta strictissima (Cinquefoil) · P. fissa (Bigflower Cinquefoil) · P. flabellifolia (High Mountain Cinquefoil) · P. fragiformis (Strawberry Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa (Bush Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa L. 'Abbottswood' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Moonlight' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Abbotswood' (Abbotswood Potentilla) · P. fruticosa 'Absaraka' (Dakota Goldrush® Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Annette' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Apricot Whisper' (Apricot Whisper Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Beesii' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Buttercup' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Cobalt' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Dakota Goldrush' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Dakota Sunrise' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Dakota Sunspot' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Dart's Golddigger' (Dart's Golddigger Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Daydawn' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Eastleigh Cream' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Elizabeth' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Fargo' (Dakota Sunspot® Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Farrer's White' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Floppy Disc' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Frosty' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Goldfinger' (Goldfinger Potentilla) · P. fruticosa 'Goldstar' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Gold Drop' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Hollandia Gold' (Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Jackmanii' (Jackmanii Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Katherine Dykes' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Klondike' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Longacre' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Mango Tango' (Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Marian Red Robin' (Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'McKays White' (Mckay's White Potentilla) · P. fruticosa 'Monsidh' (Frosty® Potentilla) · P. fruticosa 'Mount Everest' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Orangeade' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Orange Whisper' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Pink Beauty' (Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Pink Princess' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Pink Whisper' (Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Pretty Polly' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Primrose Beauty' (Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Red Ace' (Red Ace Potentilla) · P. fruticosa 'Red Sunset' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Ron McBeth' (Shrubby Cinquefoil) · P. fruticosa 'Royal Flush' (Shrubby Cinquefoil)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal January 28, 2008:



  1. Cuizhi Gu, Chaoluan Li, Lingdi Lu, Shunyuan Jiang, Crinan Alexander, Bruce Bartholomew, Anthony R. Brach, David E. Boufford, Hiroshi Ikeda, Hideaki Ohba, Kenneth R. Robertson & Steven A. Spongberg "Rosaceae". in Flora of China Vol. 9 Page 46. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
  2. Li Chaoluan (Li Chao-luang, Hiroshi Ikeda, Hideaki Ohba "Potentilla". in Flora of China Vol. 9 Page 291. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
  3. "Potentilla". in Flora of China Vol. 9 Page 327. Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
  4. Mean = 215.560 meters (707.218 feet), Standard Deviation = 366.760 based on 1,448 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
Last Revised: 2015-01-30