sulphur cinquefoil

(Potentilla recta)

Conservation Status
sulphur cinquefoil
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNA - Not applicable

SNA - Not applicable


not listed


Sulphur cinquefoil is a 16 to 32 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on 1 to 3 stems from a thick caudex. It can form large clumps.

The stems are erect, stout, unbranched below the inflorescence, and covered with both glandular and non-glandular hairs.

The leaves are alternate. Lower leaves are on hairy stalks up to 4 long. The are palmately divided into 5 or 7 leaflets. The leaflets are narrowly inversely egg-shaped with the attachment at the narrow end, 1 to 2 long, and about ¾ wide. The margins are coarsely toothed around the entire margin, including near the base. The upper surface is green and is covered with short, soft hairs. The lower surface is pale green and is covered with long, soft or stiff hairs. Upper leaves, above the point where the flower stalks begin to appear, are similar but smaller and divided into 3 leaflets.

The inflorescence is a flattened, branched cluster of many flowers at the end of the stem.

The flowers are ½ to 1 wide. The 5 petals are pale yellow. They are inversely heart-shaped, broadest at the tip with two rounded lobes separated by a broad notch, and tapering to a narrow, wedge-shaped base. The 5 green sepals are shorter than the petals and alternate with the petals. The 5 bractlets are dark green and about as long as the sepals when the flower is fully open. They alternate with the sepals and are hidden below the petals when the flower is viewed from above. There are 20 to 30 yellow stamens with brown and yellow anthers. There is no floral scent.




16 to 32


Flower Color


Pale yellow


Similar Species


Sulphur cinquefoil is the only cinquefoil in Minnesota that has pale yellow flowers.

The erect stature, palmately divided leaves with up to 7 leaflets, flower cluster at the tip of the stem, and pale yellow flowers, taken together, distinguish sulphur cinquefoil from all other cinquefoils in Minnesota.

Tall cinquefoil (Drymocallis arguta) leaves are pinnately divided into 7 to 11 leaflets. The petals are yellowish-white, cream colored, or nearly white, and are rounded at the tip, not notched.


Dry. Roadsides, old fields, disturbed sites. Full sun.




June to August


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 22, 28, 29, 30.




Native to Europe and Asia. Introduced and naturalized in North America.





  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Subclass Rosidae  
  Superorder Rosanae  


Rosales (roses, elms, figs, and allies)  


Rosaceae (rose)  
  Subfamily Rosoideae (brambles, roses, strawberries, and allies)  
  Tribe Potentilleae (strawberries, cinquefoils, and allies)  
  Subtribe Potentillinae (cinquefoil)  


Potentilla (cinquefoils)  

Subordinate Taxa






Potentilla recta var. obscura

Potentilla recta var. pilosa

Potentilla recta var. sulphurea

Potentilla sulphurea


Common Names


roughfruit cinquefoil

rough-fruited cinquefoil

sulpher cinquefoil

sulpher fivefingers

upright cinquefoil










Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.



A small, often secondary bract within an inflorescence; a bract that is borne on a petiole instead of subtending it.



A short, thickened, woody, persistent enlargement of the stem, at or below ground level, used for water storage.


Glandular hairs

Hairs spread over aerial vegetation that secrete essential oils. The oils act to protect against herbivores and pathogens or, when on a flower part, attract pollinators. The hairs have a sticky or oily feel.


Palmately divided

Similar to a hand. Having more than three lobes that radiate from a single point at the base of the leaf.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

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    sulphur cinquefoil      


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    sulphur cinquefoil   sulphur cinquefoil  
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    sulphur cinquefoil   sulphur cinquefoil  
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  Potentilla recta
Matt Lavin
  Potentilla recta  

Fruit: multiple achenes. A listed noxious weed in Montana but efforts to eradicate it can reduce native biodiversity. Perennial herb with erect and distinctly hirsute stems 20-50 cm tall, well-developed stem leaves, and short-petiolate basal leaves, common in open dry settings including meadows, open understory, roadsides, and pastures.

  sulphur cinquefoil
Andree Reno Sanborn
  sulphur cinquefoil  

Potentilla recta

  Potentilla recta (Sulphur [Rough-fruited] Cinquefoil)
Allen Chartier
  Potentilla recta (Sulphur [Rough-fruited] Cinquefoil)  



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Other Videos
  MyNature Apps; Identifying Sulphur Cinquefoil,Potentilla recta

Uploaded on Jul 3, 2011

Identifying Sulphur Cinquefoil, Potentilla recta or also know as Rough Fruited Cinquefoil.

  Sulphur Cinquefoil (Potentilla Recta) - 2012-06-02

Published on Jun 6, 2012

Potentilla recta (Sulphur Cinquefoil or sulphur cinquefoil) is a species of cinquefoil.

De rechte ganzerik of zwavelvijfblad (Potentilla recta) is een meerjarige plant in de rozenfamilie (Rosaceae).




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Avon Hills Forest SNA, North Unit

Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park

Blanket Flower Prairie SNA

Blue Mounds State Park

Brownsville Bluff SNA

Bunker Hills Regional Park

Camden State Park

Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

Cedar Rock SNA

Chamberlain Woods SNA

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park

Chippewa Prairie

Clear Lake SNA

Clifton E. French Regional Park

Cottonwood River Prairie SNA

Crow Wing State Park

Dodge Nature Center

Elm Creek Park Reserve

Falls Creek SNA

Franconia Bluffs SNA

Frontenac State Park

Great River Bluffs State Park

Hastings Sand Coulee SNA

Hemlock Ravine SNA

Iron Horse Prairie SNA

Jensen Memorial WMA

Kasota Prairie

La Salle Lake SNA

Lake Byllesby Regional Park

Lake Carlos State Park

Lake Elmo Park Reserve

Lake Louise State Park

Lake Maria State Park

Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Leif Mountain

Lester Lake SNA

Lost Valley Prairie SNA

Maplewood State Park

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Mille Lacs Moraine SNA

Mississippi River County Park

Mound Spring Prairie SNA, North Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Rengstorf Unit

Pine Bend Bluffs SNA

Prairie Creek WMA, Koester Prairie Unit

Ripley Esker SNA

P.N. and G.M. Nelson Wildlife Sanctuary

Oronoco Prairie SNA

Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo

Quarry Park SNA

Red Rock Prairie

River Terrace Prairie SNA

River Warren Outcrops SNA

Rock Ridge Prairie SNA

Rockville County Park

Rushford Sand Barrens SNA

St. Croix Savanna SNA

Sand Prairie Wildlife Management and Environmental Education Area

Savage Fen SNA

Savanna Portage State Park

Sedan Brook Prairie SNA

Seven Sisters Prairie

Seven Springs WMA

Sheepberry Fen

Shooting Star Prairie SNA

Spring Lake Park Reserve

Sunfish Lake Park

Swedes Forest SNA

Thorson Prairie WMA

Tribute WMA

Upper Sioux Agency State Park

Valley View Park

Vermillion Highlands Research Recreation and WMA

Vermillion River WMA

Whitetail Woods Regional Park

Woodbury WMA

Woodland Trails Regional Park







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