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Potentilla simplex (Common cinquefoil)
Flaigg, Norman G.

Potentilla simplex

Potentilla simplex Michx.

Common Cinquefoil, Oldfield Cinquefoil

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Synonym(s): Potentilla simplex var. argyrisma, Potentilla simplex var. calvescens, Potentilla simplex var. typica

USDA Symbol: POSI2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N), SPM (I)

A familiar plant with prostrate stems, which root at the nodes, and flowers and leaves arising from runners on separate stalks. Runners are 6-20 in. Five-parted leaves and five-petaled, yellow flowers.

Common Cinquefoil is a member of the rose family (family Rosaceae), which includes herbs, shrubs, and trees with mostly prickly stems. There are about 100 genera and 3,000 species in this worldwide family. Apples, pears, quinces, cherries, plums, peaches, apricots, loquats, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are important fruits. Roses, Cotoneaster, Firethorn, Mountain Ash, Spirea, and Hawthorns are common ornamentals.


From the Image Gallery

3 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Achene , Aggregate
Size Notes: Stems initially erect to ascending, up to about 20 inches long. Become prostrate with age, rooting at nodes.
Fruit: Aggregated achenes.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NS , ON , PE
Native Distribution: Nf. & Que. to MN, s. to NC, TN, n.e. TX & KS
Native Habitat: Dry to moist, open woods; prairies; roadsides; waste places

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Variable.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Potentilla simplex in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Potentilla simplex in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Potentilla simplex


Record Modified: 2023-02-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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