Potentilla, widely known as Cinquefoil, is a genus of about 300 species of flowering plants in the rose family (Rosaceae), native to the Northern Hemisphere.
Many species have palmate leaves with five leaflets, and delicate five-petaled flowers. These plants are valued for their long bloom time, exceptional hardiness and adaptability. They are attractive to birds, bees, butterflies and pollinating insects, and reasonably tolerant of heat and drought. They are outstanding additions to beds and borders, rock gardens, cottage gardens or as groundcovers.
The genus name is derived from the Latin “potens”, meaning “powerful”, in reference to the medicinal benefits of the plant.
The common name Cinquefoil comes from the Latin words “qunique”, meaning “five” and “folium”, which means “leaf”, and refers to the number of leaflets within a compound leaf in many species.
Cinquefoil symbolizes strength, power, honor and loyalty.
It is also a symbol of womanhood and maternal love.
Interesting facts about Potentilla
The genus Potentilla is closely related to the genus Dasiphora, which is mainly native to Asia. Dasiphora is a genus of three species of shrubs in the family Rosaceae, with pinnately compound leaves and five-petaled flowers. These species were once classified in the genus Potentilla. Dasiphora fruticosa, formerly known as Potentilla fruticosa, is the most popular species of the genus. Up to now there are even nurseries and wholesalers who still use the old name.
Other genera related to Potentilla are: Geum, Rosa, Dryas, Agrimonia, Alchemilla, Fragaria and Horkelia.
Benefits and Uses
The plant has been used in traditional medicine since ancient times as a remedy for fever, dysentery, diarrhea and menstrual problems.
Cinquefoil is often cultivated as an ornamental plant for its attractive appearance.
Potentilla Plant Data
Annuals, Perennials, Shrubs
The flowers are usually yellow, but can also be white, purple, pink or red.
Spring, Autumn, Summer
Cinquefoil range in height from 30 to 120 cm (1 to 4 ft), depending on the varieties.
It will thrive in almost any soil, though it prefers reasonably well-drained and moderately fertile soil. The soil pH should be between 5.0 and 7.0