Scientific NamePotentilla recta
Other Common Names:
Synonyms (former Scientific Names):
Potentilla recta var. obscura
Potentilla recta var. sulphurea
Potentilla recta var. pilosa
Divided into 7 (sometimes 5, rarely 9) leaflets that arise from a common point on the stem. Lower leaves alternate, petioled. All leaves much longer than wide, widest at the middle and tapering to the base, sparsely hairy, with coarsely toothed margins.
The 7 leaflets that most often occur in this species helps to distinguish it from other similar cinquefoils. Oldfield cinquefoil (Potentilla simplex) and common cinquefoil (Potentilla canadensis) both have 5 leaflets, darker yellow flowers, and rhizomes and/or stolons. Additionally, the light yellow flower with 5 petals is a good identifying characteristic of this cinquefoil.
Flower Seed Head
Light yellow (sulfur) with a darker yellow center, 1/2-1 inch wide, with 5 deeply notched petals.
Stems: Erect, unbranched, ascending from a central crown, hairy, reaching 1 to 2 1/2 ft tall. Fruit: An achene.
A perennial with many ascending stems from a crown that may reach 1-2 1/2 ft in height. Primarily found in disturbed areas and along roadsides or railroads throughout N.C., S.C., Va., Tenn., Ky., W. Va.
prostrate and nonwoody
Thorns or Spines
Approximate Flower Diameter
Dominant Flower Color
Stem Cross Section
round or oval