Sticky Cinquefoil 2010

Mt Hoffman, Yosemite, August 2010

  • Potentilla glandulosa Lindl.
  • Sticky cinquefoil
  • Rosaceae (Rose Family)
  • USDA Symbol: POGL9
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.

A leafy plant with several stems, often reddish and sticky with minute, glandular hairs, topped by yellow flowers in loose branched clusters. A variable, semi-woody species with many subspecies. The leaves are reminiscent of strawberry, but have more leaflets. They are pinnately compound. The rather small flowers vary from cream to yellow and occur in small, loose clusters. The upper stems have glandular hairs, hence the name. Overall height is from 1-2 ft.

This attractive wildflower is common in the West and generally recognizable as a cinquefoil, a name ultimately deriving from Latin through French, meaning five leaves; some species have leaves with five leaflets. The genus differs from very similar-appearing species of buttercups (Ranunculus) in having a hypanthium. Some species hybridize; others reproduce asexually. Hybrids may reproduce asexually, and populations of intermediate plants are frequent. Identification of cinquefoil species is therefore difficult.

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