sulfur cinquefoil
Potentilla recta L.


Potentilla recta is a perennial herb that can grow to 19.7 in. (50 cm) tall. It is native to Africa, temperate Asia and Europe.
A loose rosette of long-petiolate leaves develops first and withers before flowering. Plants can be one or multi-stemmed. Stems are covered with long and short hairs and are unbranched. Cauline leaves are palmately compound (with 5-7 leaflets), stipulate and short petioled to sessile. The central leaflet is 1.2-5.9 in. (3-15 cm) long (longer than the other leaflets).
Flowering occurs from May to July, when sulfur yellow flowers develop in open, flat-topped inflorescences at the apex of the stems. Flowers have 5 petals, each 0.2-0.4 in. (0.5-1 cm) long, and 25-30 stamens.
Fruits are small, dark brown achenes with pale veins. Seeds often have a webbed or net-like pattern on them.
Ecological Threat
P. recta occurs in pastures, rangelands, along roadsides and other disturbed sites. NOTE: The native graceful or slender cinquefoil, P. gracilis has short hairs that lie flat on the stems and leaves and brighter yellow flowers than the invasive P. recta.


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EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Potentilla
Subject: Potentilla recta L.

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
sulphur cinquefoil, roughfruit cinquefoil


Plants - Forbs/Herbs