Ontario Weeds: Rough cinquefoil
Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds,
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Table of Contents
- Other Names
- General Description
- Stems and Roots
- Flowers and Fruit
- Similar Species
- Related Links
Name: Rough cinquefoil, Potentilla
Other Names: Upright cinquefoil, Yellow cinquefoil, potentille de Norvège, potentille
Family: Rose Family (Rosaceae)
General Description: Annual, biennial or short-lived perennial, reproducing only by seed.
Stems & Roots: 20-50cm (8-20in.)
high, usually branched, sometimes with 2 or more stems from the
same root, hairy throughout.
Leaves: Alternate (1 per node), compound; 1 leaf consisting of 3 leaflets at the end of a leafstalk (petiole) and a pair of stipules at the base of the leafstalk where it joins the stem; each leaflet oblong to roundish with coarse, sharp, forward-pointed teeth; leaves in a rosette early in the growing season and, at this stage, frequently mistaken for strawberry; lower stem leaves long-stalked; uppermost leaves stalkless with the 3 leaflets and pair of stipules apparently attached directly to the stem.
Flowers & Fruit: Flowers about 6mm (¼in.) across, on short stalks from leafy branches in the upper part of the plant; 5 pale yellow petals about the same length as the green sepals, a ring of many stamens around the cluster of many tiny pistils which mature into a cluster of seeds; each seed about 1mm (1/25in.) long, yellowish to pale brown and ridged lengthwise. Flowers in June and July.
Habitat: Rough cinquefoil occurs throughout Ontario in pastures, meadows, waste areas, roadsides, and occasionally in gardens and cultivated fields.
Similar Species: Rosettes of Rough cinquefoil are distinguished from strawberry plants (Fragaria spp.) by having teeth all around the margins of all 3 leaflets, whereas with strawberry the lower ¼ to 1/3 of each leaflet is usually without teeth. Older plants have robust, erect stems with several leaves and yellow flowers, whereas strawberry has a slender, short, nearly leafless stem with loose clusters of white flowers. It is distinguished from the yellow-flowered buttercups by its 3-leaflet leaves and the presence of a pair of stipules at the base of each leafstalk. Rough cinquefoil is distinguished from other cinquefoils by the combination of 3-leaflet leaves green on both surfaces, and small (6-10mm, ¼-2/5in. across), pale yellow flowers in which the sepals and petals are of about equal length.
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