Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Rough Cinquefoil - Potentilla norvegica   L.
Members of Rosaceae:
Members of Potentilla with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Rosales » Family Rosaceae
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DistributionPresent over the entire Mountain province, and most of the Piedmont, though scarce in southern parts. Occurs sparingly in the Coastal Plain, mainly in the northern portions, and absent from the Sandhills proper. Some locations may well relate to non-natural populations.

This species occurs both in Europe and in North America. On this continent, it ranges from Canada south to northern GA and AR.
AbundanceFrequent to common in the Mountains. Infrequent to fairly common in the northern half of the Piedmont, but mostly rare in the southern Piedmont. Uncommon in the northwestern Coastal Plain, south to Craven County. A record from coastal New Hanover County might be a non-natural location.
HabitatThis Potentilla favors moist to damp ground, though still mostly in weedy habitats as in the other two native species. It grows in openings in bottomlands or along stream margins, moist fields and meadows, on sand bars, and other disturbed places.
PhenologyBlooms from late May to frost, and fruits from June to frost.
IdentificationThis is an erect to leaning herb, growing to about 2 feet tall. It has scattered alternate leaves, quite like those of a strawberry (Fragaria spp.), being 3-parted. Each of the 3 leaflets is ovate to widely elliptic, about 1.5 inches long and 1 inch wide, strongly toothed on the margins, and with a long petiole. The top portions of the branched stem contain the cymes of flowers (usually in groups of two each), each one containing 5 small yellow, obovate petals, with a spread flower only about 1/2-inch across. The other numerous tall cinquefoil is the non-native P. recta, which has leaves with 5-7 leaflets and pale yellow flowers that are nearly 1 inch across.
Taxonomic CommentsMany references list the North American population as a separate subspecies, but Weakley (2018) does not feel that characters between the two forms are reliably distinct.

Other Common Name(s)Strawberry-weed, Ternate-leaf Cinquefoil, Norwegian Cinquefoil
State RankS4
Global RankG5
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