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Alaska Wildflowers | Yellow

Shrubby cinquefoil flower blooming in the White Mountain National Recreation Area of the interior of Alaska.

shrubby cinquefoil

Dasiphora fruticosa

Synonyms:
Potentilla fruticosa L.
Pentaphylloides fruticosa
Potentilla floribunda
Potentilla tenuifolia

Common Names:
shrubby cinquefoil
tundra rose
Potentilla
shrubby five-finger
bush cinquefoil
widdy
golden hardhack

Genus: Dasiphora (shrubby cinquefoil)
Family: Rosaceae (Rose family)
Order: Rosales
Full Classification

Duration: Perennial

Uses: Dried leaves used for teas. Frequently cultivated as an ornamental plant in landscaping or gardens. The fruit is eaten by birds and rodents.

Identification

Shrubby cinquefoil is a shrubby plant growing up to 0.5-1 m (1.5-3.25 ft) tall. The shrub is densely leafed with many small, buttercup-shaped, yellow flowers.

The stems are woody (reddish-brown), spreading, and branched, growing from a woody taproot. The bark on the older stems becomes ragged as it sheds. Leaves are densely distributed on the branches, attached to the stem by petiole (5-15 mm in length), and can be bluish-grey to green. Leaves are pinnate, divided into three to seven leaflets. Leaflets are slightly hairy on the underside and linear-oblong in shape, about 1-2.5 cm (0.35-1 inch) long. Leaves are typically darker on the top and have fewer, finer hairs.

Each plant has flowers or small flower clusters located at the end of the stems (no medial flowers). Flowers are yellow, and typically have five rounded, 5-15 mm wide petals (4-6 possible) that are backed by five smaller ovate yellow-green sepals. Each flower typically has 15-25 stamen that are yellow with reddish-brown anthers. The sepals are further backed by 5 narrowly lanceolate, slightly smaller bractlets 4-13 mm in length.

Distribution and Habitat

Dasiphora fruticosa has a widespread circumboreal distribution, including Alaska, most of Canada, northern United States as well as western and mountain states, Europe, and Asia. There is quite a bit of variation globally. Shrubby cinquefoil has been cultivated worldwide, resulting with more that 150 cultivars that can vary in petal color.

Shrubby cinquefoil prefers full sun, but can be found in a variety of habitats, including rocky slopes and cliff sides, old riverbeds, deciduous forests, meadows, alpine meadows, and alpine forests. It grows in a variety of soils but prefers a well-draining soil that is sandy or rocky.

Classification

RankScientific Name (Common Name)
KingdomPlantae (Plants)
SubkingdomTracheobionta (Vascular plants)
SuperdivisionSpermatophyta (Seed plants)
DivisionMagnoliophyta (Flowering plants)
ClassMagnoliopsida (Dicotyledons)
SubclassRosidae
OrderRosales
FamilyRosaceae (Rose family)
GenusDasiphora Raf. (shrubby cinquefoil)
SpeciesDasiphora fruticosa (L.) Rydb. (shrubby cinquefoil)

References and Further Reading

Field Guide to Alaskan Wildflowers, Pratt, Verna E. pg 36

Dasiphora fruticosa  (L.) Rydb., ITIS Database

Dasiphora fruticosa (L.) Rydb. shrubby cinquefoil, USDA Database

1. Dasiphora fruticosa (Linnaeus) Rydberg, Monogr. N. Amer. Potentilleae. 188. 1898., Flora of North America (www.eFloras.org)

Potentilla fruticosa – L., Plants For A Future (pfaf.org)

All online sources accessed August 2020 unless otherwise noted

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