Tormentil and Cinquefoil

Image courtesy of H.Zell   CC BY-SA 3.0 LicensePotentilla erecta 001.JPG


Here review two grassland species the Tormentil,  Potentilla erecta {above Image} and Cinquefoil.  Tormentil grows in grassland on heaths, moors  and bogs and other types of grassland throughout the UK. Cinquefoil, also known as the creeping cinquefoil,  Potentilla reptans, grows on hedge banks , roadsides , grassland and waste places throughout , but rare in northern and central Scotland. We commence with Tormentil.

Components of tormentil.

Potentilla erecta - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-248.jpg  

Tormentil. Description.

From the thick rootstock arise leaves on long stalks which are divided in to three or five oval leaflets. {rarely seven which gives rise to its alternative name of septfoil}.   They are toothed towards the tips.The stem or upper leaves have three leaflets and two leaf like stipules. Despite its name of 'erecta' indicating erect stems, they tend to produce sprawling non-rooting flowering stems.

The small yellow flowers have four petals.They may be encountered inn flower from May until October  

The thick root of Tormentil.

Courtesy of Wolfgang Frishch.  CC BY -SA 3.0 License.

Historical uses of Tormentil.

The root is not suitable for eating it is very bitter and low protein value. However, it was used to dye leather red. Because of its high tannin content, it was used in herbal medicine as an astringent. It was also used as an extract to produce a bitter liqueur in Bavaria the Black forest region , known as Blutwurz.

Creeping Cinquefoil. Potentilla reptans. Taken in France.

Courtesy of Olivier Prichard CC BY- SA 3.0 license.Potentilla reptans beauvais-carriere-bracheux 60 20062008 1.jpg


This is superfically similar to the last species but the flowers are larger and they have five petals not four. The stems root at intervals the former does not. It is native to Eurasia and North Africa. It has been introduced elsewhere. it is also similar to the Silverweed { see content banners above}. The tap roots of this plant also make it a difficult weed to eradicate from lawns. The yellow flowers are about two cm in diameter and they are encountered in flower from June until August. 

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