Potentilla verna L.

spring cinquefoil

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Spring cinquefoil is an introduced in North America. Within New England, it has been collected only in Connecticut. Typical of many alpine plants, this species grows low to the ground on a mound of small foliage -- a growth form that helps preserve water and warmth in open, cold, dry conditions. Rooting at the nodes, the prostrate stems can form mats -- a feature that distinguishes this species from another very rare, native alpine cinquefoil in New England, Potentilla robbinsiana.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats)

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
Connecticut
Flower petal color
yellow
Leaf type
the leaves are compound (made up of two or more discrete leaflets
Leaf arrangement
alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
Flower symmetry
there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals
there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Fusion of sepals and petals
both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
Stamen number
13 or more
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
Fruit length
1.5–2 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Bulbils
    the plant does not appear to have bulbils
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
  • Flowers
    Anther opening
    the anthers have narrow slits or furrows that run lengthwise along the anthers
    Anther spurs
    the anthers do not have spurs on them
    Calyx symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the calyx (the calyx is radially symmetrical)
    Carpels fused
    the carpel is solitary or (if 2 or more) the carpels are not fused to one another
    Cleistogamous flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on the plan
    Corolla morphology
    NA
    Corolla palate
    no
    Corona lobe length
    0 mm
    Epicalyx
    the flower has an epicalyx
    Epicalyx number of parts
    5
    Filament surface
    the filament is smooth, with no hairs or scales
    Flower description
    the flower has a superior ovary and a hypanthium
    Flower petal color
    yellow
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Flowers sunken into stem
    no
    Form of style
    the style is narrow at the tip and unbranched
    Fused stamen clusters
    NA
    Fusion of sepals and petals
    both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
    Horns in hoods (Asclepias)
    NA
    Hypanthium
    the flower has a hypanthium
    Inflorescence one-sided
    the flowers are arrayed in a spiral around the inflorescence axis or branches, or occur singly, or in several ranks
    Inner tepals (Rumex)
    NA
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of pistils
    6 or more
    Number of sepals, petals or tepals
    there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    Number of styles
    1
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal and sepal colors
    yellow
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal folds or pleats
    the petals of the flower do not have folds or plaits
    Petal hairs (Viola)
    NA
    Petal number
    5
    Petal tips (Cuscuta)
    NA
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Scales inside corolla
    no
    Sepal and petal color
    the sepals are different from the petals
    Sepal appendages
    the sepals do not have appendages on them
    Sepal appendages (Oenothera)
    NA
    Sepal number
    5
    Stamen attachment
    the stamens are attached at or near the bases of the petals or tepals
    Stamen number
    13 or more
    Stamen position relative to petals
    NA
    Staminodes
    there are no staminodes on the flower
    Umbel flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Upper lip of bilabiate corolla
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene surface (Polygonum)
    NA
    Achene type
    the fruit is an achene (dry, indehiscent, and usually one-seeded)
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule color (Viola)
    NA
    Capsule ribs
    NA
    Capsule splitting
    NA
    Fruit (pyxis) dehiscence
    NA
    Fruit features (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Fruit length
    1.5–2 mm
    Fruit locules
    one
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is an achene (dry, usually one-seeded, does not separate or split open at maturity)
    Legumes (Fabaceae)
    NA
    Mericarp length
    0 mm
    Mericarp segment shape (Desmodium)
    NA
    Placenta arrangement
    marginal
    Rows of seeds in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit compression
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit segments
    0
    Septum in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    prickles on fruits
    the fruits do not have thorn-like defensive structures
  • Glands or sap
    Glands on leaf blade
    the leaf blades do not have glandular dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
    Sap color
    the sap is clear
  • Growth form
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Parasitism
    the plant is not parasitic
    Plant color
    the leaves or young stems of the plant are green
    Plants darken when dry
    no
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
  • Leaves
    Bracteole number (Apiaceae)
    0
    Bracts in plantain (Plantago)
    NA
    Hairs on underside of leaf
    • the underside of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    • the underside of the leaf is not hairy, or it has very few hairs
    Leaf arrangement
    alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has a distinct leaf stalk (petiole)
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    Leaf blade length
    20–40 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    the leaf blade is obovate (egg-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they whither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the leaves are green, with an expanded blade and a leaf-like texture
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf type
    the leaves are compound (made up of two or more discrete leaflets
    Leaflet number
    3
    Leaves per node
    there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Specific leaf type
    the leaf has lobes that radiate from the base, somewhat like a hand
    Stipels
    there are no stipels at the bases of the petiolules
    Stipule features
    NA
    Stipules
    the plant has stipules
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    Connecticut
    Specific habitat
    man-made or disturbed habitats
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of a smell
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branched tendrils
    NA
    Hair between stem nodes
    the stem has hairs between the nodes
    Hooked hairs on stem between nodes
    no
    Leaves on stem
    there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Plant height
    1–20 cm
    Tendril origin
    NA
    Tendrils
    the plant does not have tendrils

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
absent
Massachusetts
absent
New Hampshire
absent
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

None

Native to North America?

No

Sometimes Confused With

Potentilla robbinsiana

Synonyms

  • Potentilla neumanniana, auct. non Reichenb.
  • Potentilla tabernaemontani Aschers.

Family

Rosaceae

Genus

Potentilla

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

19.  Potentilla verna L. E

spring cinquefoil. Potentilla neumanniana, auct. non Reichenb.; P. tabernaemontani Aschers. 
• CT. Roadsides, lawns. Report of this species in MA by Kartesz (1999) was based on comments in Seymour (1982) and was unverified (i.e., specimens are unknown).