Sulphur Cinquefoil

Potentilla recta L.

Synonyms -

Family: Rosaceae

Names:

Potentilla is Latin meaning powerful and refers to its medicinal properties.
Recta is Latin meaning upright.
Sulphur Cinquefoil because the flowers are a sulphur yellow colour.

Other Names:

Summary:

An erect, hairy, perennial herb with yellow flowers and 5-7 finger like leaves with toothed edges. The lower leaves and petioles are much larger than those at the top of the plant.

Description:

Cotyledons:

Two.

First leaves:

Leaves:

Leaves green or greyish hairy, 20-100 mm long, with 5-9 leaflets arranged like fingers on the hand. Lower leaves are larger and more divided than the upper leaves.
Many stem leaves and only a few basal leaves on mature plants.
Stipules - Up to 30 mm long, fused to petiole.
Petiole - of leaf usually 30-70 mm long.
Blade - Of leaflet, oblong, 20-60 mm long x 5-15 mm wide. Tip pointed. Edges toothed. Base tapered. Hairy with long right angle hairs.
Stem leaves - similar to basal leaves and becoming smaller up the stem.

Stems:

Hairy with long right angle hairs. Green to reddish. Creeping but not rooting.
Flower stem - 1 to several, 100-750 mm tall. Single or with a few branches. Densely hairy.

Flower head:

Numerous flowers on the ends of the stem in loose clusters (cymes).

Flowers:

Buttercup like yellow flowers, 20-25 mm diameter, with 5, notched petals.
Ovary -
Epicalyx - similar to and alternating with the sepals.
Sepals - 5. Shorter than petals.
Petals - 5. Yellow, 6-12 mm long, deeply notched, longer than the sepals.
Stamens - 10-30.
Anthers -

Fruit:

Head of achenes enclosed in an elongated, dry, spongy receptacle or calyx and epicalyx.

Seeds:

Narrowly wing, veined, achene about 1.5 mm long.
Seed coat heavily wrinkled.

Roots:

Woody rootstock with deep and spreading feeder roots.

Key Characters:

Leaves palmate.
Hairy leaves and stems.
Yellow, 5 petalled flowers.
Inflorescence terminal, cymose, many flowered.
Adapted from Gwen Harden and John Moore

Biology:

Life cycle:

Long lived, perennial herb.

Physiology:

Drought tolerant. Relatively unpalatable.

Reproduction:

By seed.

Flowering times:

Late spring to early summer.
November to May in NZ.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Seed is viable in the soil for at least 3 years.

Vegetative Propagules:

Hybrids:

Allelopathy:

Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Spread by seed and intentional planting.

Origin and History:

Europe. Mediterranean.

Distribution:

ACT, NSW, TAS, VIC.

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Habitats:

Grass lands and open forests.

Climate:

Temperate to cooler areas.

Soil:

Plant Associations:

Significance:

Beneficial:

Ornamental.

Detrimental:

Weed of grass lands, roadsides, open or disturbed bushland.
Invasive weed of the USA.

Toxicity:

Relatively unpalatable.

Symptoms:

Treatment:

Legislation:

None

Management and Control:

2,4-D provides reasonable control but must be repeated annually to control seedlings.

Thresholds:

Eradication strategies:

Isolated plants can be levered out by driving a crow bar under the woody crown and rootstock.
Larger infestations can be controlled by foliar spraying with a picloram based products such as Grazon® and Tordon®. Check each year for seedlings and retreat as required.
For areas where a less residual product is preferred use 1 g metsulfuron(600g/kg) plus 25 mL Pulse® in 10 L water and spray the foliage, until just wet, when actively growing. Repeat as required.

Herbicide resistance:

None reported.

Biological Control:

Related plants:

Creeping Cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans)
Silver Weed (Potentilla anserina)
Potentilla anglica has sprawling stoloniferous stems with trifoliate stem leaves
Hoary Cinquefoil (Potentilla argentea) has white, woolly hairs on the underside of the leaves.
Potentilla supina

Plants of similar appearance:

Marijuana has similar leaves but is not hairy.

References:

Bodkin, F. (1986). Encyclopaedia Botanica. (Angus and Robertson, Australia).

Everist, S.L. (1974). Poisonous Plants of Australia. (Angus and Robertson, Sydney).

Harden, Gwen J. (1991). Flora of NSW. (Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney). Volume 1. P536. Diagram.

Lamp, C. and Collet, F. (1990). A Field Guide to Weeds in Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne).

Lazarides, M. and Cowley, K. and Hohnen, P. (1997). CSIRO handbook of Australian Weeds. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #814.3.

Randall, J.M. and Marinelli, J. (1996) Invasive Plants. (Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Inc. Brooklyn). P82. Photo.

Roy, B., Popay, I., Champion, P., James, T. and Rahman, A. (1998). An Illustrated Guide to Common Weeds of New Zealand. (New Zealand Plant Protection Society). P237. Photo.

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.