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Thuringian Cinquefoil

Potentilla thuringiaca

  • Name also: European Cinquefoil, Thuringian Potentilla
  • Family: Rose Family – Rosaceae
  • Growing form: Perennial herb. Rootstock strong, branched.
  • Height: 25–30 cm (10–12 in.). Stem ascending–erect, densely short-haired, sparsely long-haired, also with glandular hairs, often reddish.
  • Flower: Corolla regular (actinomorphic), bright yellow, 15–20 mm (0.6–0.8 in.) broad; petals 5, with notched tips, 7–10 mm (0.28–0.4 in.) long, longer than sepals. Calyx 5-lobed; with epicalyx. Stamens 20. Gynoecium separate, pistils at least 10. Inflorescence a lax corymb.
  • Leaves: In basal rosette and alternate on stem, stalked, stipulate. Blade palmate, basal leaves with 7 (sometimes 9) leaflets, stem leaves usually with 5 (sometimes 3) leaflets. Leaflets lanceolate, with serrated margins until base, hairy. Stipules lanceolate, long-tapered.
  • Fruit: Short-tipped achene, several together.
  • Habitat: Lawns, meadows, roadsides, banks, railway yards, wasteland, loading areas. Also an ornamental.
  • Flowering time: June–August.

Thuringian cinquefoil is indigenous to a wide area in the central and southern European mountains, eastern Europe and the Caucasus. It is actually found in Germany, but the name species does not grow in Finland. Finnish Thuringian cinquefoil belongs to the eastern stand, which nowadays stretches to the southern parts of the Nordic countries. It was found for the first time in Finland in Mikkeli in 1883, and it still grows mainly in the east of the country. Thuringian cinquefoil has increased its habitat in Finland in recent years, taking in wide areas of the south and centre of the country, but it has not become common anywhere. Stands are still sparse and far away from each other.

In many areas Thuringian cinquefoil has found a home in the often man-made hilly meadows that can be found around castles from the time of the Russian occupation: seeds travelled with soldiers’ provisions, and the species became a very characteristic feature of the landscape. Most Thuringian cinquefoils has however travelled to Finland mixed in with uncleaned grass seed. The fact that the plant can still be found on lawns, around yards and on roadsides bears testament to the fact that it still turns up in this way.

Thuringian cinquefoil’s golden yellow flowers, and its beautifully-toothed leaves, each with a regulation seven leaflets, are very pretty. A new arrival in the Finnish wild which bears a slight resemblance to Thuringian cinquefoil is sulphur cinquefoil (P. recta), which is larger, has paler flowers, and lacks a leaf rosette.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family
Trees and bushes from the same family

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