Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Sulphur Cinquefoil, Upright Cinquefoil, Rough-Fruited Cinquefoil, Sulpher Five-Fingers
Potentilla recta

Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Potentilla (poh-ten-TILL-uh) (Info)
Species: recta (REK-tuh) (Info)

10 members have or want this plant for trade.


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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Thumbnail #1 of Potentilla recta by kennedyh

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Thumbnail #3 of Potentilla recta by Jeff_Beck

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There are a total of 14 photos.
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5 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive ericabelle On Jun 9, 2009, ericabelle from West Plains, MO (Zone 6b) wrote:

I was delighted last year to find these plants along our fence. This year, I was even more delighted when one came up in my kitchen garden and formed a sturdy little bushy plant a little over a foot tall. They are very beautiful flowers that bloom from May to August for me. It is very drought tolerant, but mine is so vigorous because it is practically sitting on top of a sprinkler head. Withstands horrible rocky clay soil along our fence. A very long blooming and rugged plant! Happy to have it!

Neutral pamsaplantin On Jun 11, 2008, pamsaplantin from Morgantown, WV (Zone 6a) wrote:

Had never noticed this plant before until it showed up in one of my flower beds. It's growing in an adjacent hayfield & apparently self-sowed from there. Now that I have identified it, I've been seeing it all over town, along roadsides & in fields. It's a very pretty flower but I'm withholding judgment on it until I see if it becomes invasive!

Neutral creekwalker On Oct 27, 2007, creekwalker from Benton County, MO (Zone 5a) wrote:

Native of Europe, naturalized in the US. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

Fruits are the edible part. Unripe fruit is supposed to be as tasty as the ripe fruit. Eat raw or cooked. Fruit has a wrinkled surface which is why the name.

The whole plant is astringent. A poultice of the pounded leaves and stems has been applied to open sores and wounds. A tea was made for sorethroat, tonsil and gum inflammations, throat and stomach ulcers, fever, and diarrhea.

Common in fields, pastures, disturbed ground and roadsides.

Positive Alchris On Aug 18, 2005, Alchris from Edmonton, AB (Zone 3a) wrote:

Grows well in full sun and poor soil including a 30 degree slope. Medium sized medium yellow blooms appear throughout summer on upright herbacious branches. Height has been about 12 inches with foliage dark green in color. Very tidy looking groundcover that is very drought tolerant. For heavier flowering shear off top 1 or 2 inches which includes developing seed pods after first flush of flowers have faded and water sporadicly.Winter hardy in Zone 3.

Positive saya On Mar 9, 2005, saya from Heerlen
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

Lovely little golden flowers that need support to stand upright...I just let it crawl between other ones...very cheerfull! It loves the sun and I would rate it as suitable for xeriscaping. Even now.. still wintertime in early march...with recent frosts down to - 7C in my garden I 've seen one blooming...I guess it could 'nt wait for the sun that they love so much.

Positive julie88 On Aug 5, 2004, julie88 from Muscoda, WI (Zone 4b) wrote:

This plant grows wild in zone 4b. I've lived with it for many years, pulling the occasional plant as a "weed."

This very pretty little flower/plant lives in nearly pure sand, full unrelenting summer sun, and complete neglect. Having finally discovered what it is and realizing that it hasn't been invasive for the 30 years I've lived with it, I'm going to try transplanting it to a native flower border in my yard.

Positive llebpmac_bob On Jul 9, 2004, llebpmac_bob from Zephyr
Canada wrote:

Have grown this plant for three years in a position where it gets direct sun for about half a day, and bright but indirect light the other half. It has a very long bloom period (started toward the end of June in my zone 4a garden and will continue to bloom all summer). The pale yellow flowers are attractive in an understated way, while the upright form makes it a good plant to put behind low growers. Mine is planted behind a clump of dark purple Viola tricolor and seems to work very well there. I find it much easier to fit into the garden than some of the more sprawly herbaceous potentillas.
No sign of self sowing or invasive character so far, but it's in very sandy soil of low fertility mixed with chunks of rock and gravel. It may be more inclined to spread in more fertile soil.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Skowhegan, Maine
Cumberland, Maryland
Oakland, Maryland
Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Eastham, Massachusetts
Midland, Michigan
Pinconning, Michigan
West Plains, Missouri
Plainfield, New Jersey
Chazy, New York
Deposit, New York
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Benton, Tennessee
Kalama, Washington
Morgantown, West Virginia
Muscoda, Wisconsin

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