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Potentilla thurberi (Scarlet cinquefoil)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Potentilla thurberi

Potentilla thurberi A. Gray

Scarlet Cinquefoil

Rosaceae (Rose Family)


USDA Symbol: POTH2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Scarlet cinquefoil is a perennial of rich, conifer forests. Its leafy stems are usually at least a foot tall. Basal leaves are palmately compound, with five to seven leaflets. 1 or several leafy branched stems bearing loose clusters of long-stalked, rich, deep crimson flowers. Five-petaled flowers are rose-red to dark-red.

The rich red, darkest in the flower's center, seems to have a velvety glow; the surface is dull but the color intense. A similar species with reddish flowers, Comarum palustre, is relatively humble, with tiny, dark red petals between larger, dull red sepals; it grows in bogs across North America, extending south in the West to northern California and Wyoming.


From the Image Gallery

4 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


Native Distribution: Mts. of NM, AZ & n. Mex.
Native Habitat: Conifer forests; 6000 to 9000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Description: Rich, acid soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

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

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

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.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2014-08-25
Research By: TWC Staff

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