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Creeping Cinquefoil

Potentilla reptans

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rosaceae (Rose)
Also in this family:
Acute Leaf-lobed Lady's-mantle, Alpine Cinquefoil, Alpine Lady's-mantle, Ampfield Cotoneaster, Arran Service Tree, Arran Whitebeam, Barren Strawberry, Bastard Agrimony, Bastard Service Tree, Bearberry Cotoneaster, Bird Cherry, Blackthorn, Bloody Whitebeam, Bramble, Bristol Whitebeam, Broad-leaved Whitebeam, Broadtooth Lady's-mantle, Bronze Pirri-pirri-bur, Bullace Plum, Bullate Cotoneaster, Burnet Rose, Catacol Whitebeam, Caucasian Lady's-mantle, Cheddar Whitebeam, Cherry Laurel, Cherry Plum, Chinese Photinia, Cloudberry, Clustered Lady's-mantle, Common Agrimony, Common Hawthorn, Common Lady's-mantle, Common Medlar, Common Ninebark, Common Whitebeam, Crab Apple, Creeping Chinese Bramble, Crimean Lady's-mantle, Cultivated Apple, Cultivated Pear, Cut-leaved Blackberry, Damson, Devon Whitebeam, Dewberry, Diel's Cotoneaster, Dog Rose, Doward Whitebeam, Dropwort, Elm-leaved Bramble, English Whitebeam, Entire-leaved Cotoneaster, False Salmonberry, Field Rose, Firethorn, Fodder Burnet, Fragrant Agrimony, Franchet's Cotoneaster, Garden Lady's-mantle, Garden Strawberry, Giant Meadowsweet, Glaucous Dog Rose, Goatsbeard Spiraea, Gough's Rock Whitebeam, Great Burnet, Greengage Plum, Grey-leaved Whitebeam, Hairless Lady's-mantle, Hairy Lady's-mantle, Hautbois Strawberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Himalayan Cotoneaster, Himalayan Whitebeam, Hoary Cinquefoil, Hollyberry Cotoneaster, Hupeh Rowan, Hybrid Cinquefoil, Hybrid Geum, Irish Whitebeam, Japanese Cherry, Japanese Quince, Japanese Rose, Jew's Mallow, Juneberry, Lancaster Whitebeam, Late Cotoneaster, Least Lady's-mantle, Least Whitebeam, Leigh Woods Whitebeam, Ley's Whitebeam, Liljefor's Whitebeam, Littleleaf Cotoneaster, Llangollen Whitebeam, Llanthony Whitebeam, Lleyn Cotoneaster, Loganberry, Many-flowered Rose, Margaret's Whitebeam, Marsh Cinquefoil, Meadowsweet, Midland Hawthorn, Mougeot's Whitebeam, Mountain Ash, Mountain Avens, Mountain Sibbaldia, Moupin's Cotoneaster, No Parking Whitebeam, Ocean Spray, Orange Whitebeam, Pale Bridewort, Pale Lady's-mantle, Parsley Piert, Pirri-pirri-bur, Plymouth Pear, Portuguese Laurel, Purple-flowered Raspberry, Quince, Raspberry, Rock Cinquefoil, Rock Lady's-mantle, Rock Whitebeam, Round-leaved Dog Rose, Round-leaved Whitebeam, Rum Cherry, Russian Cinquefoil, Salad Burnet, Sargent's Rowan, Scannell's Whitebeam, Service Tree, Sharp-toothed Whitebeam, Sherard's Downy Rose, Shining Lady's-mantle, Ship Rock Whitebeam, Short-styled Rose, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Silver Lady's-mantle, Silverweed, Slender Parsley Piert, Slender-spined Bramble, Small-flowered Sweetbriar, Small-leaved Sweetbriar, Soft Downy Rose, Somerset Whitebeam, Sorbaria, Sour Cherry, Southern Downy Rose, Southern Lady's-mantle, Spineless Acaena, Spring Cinquefoil, St. Lucie's Cherry, Steeplebush, Stern's Cotoneaster, Stirton's Whitebeam, Stone Bramble, Sulphur Cinquefoil, Swedish Service Tree, Swedish Whitebeam, Sweet Briar, Symond's Yat Whitebeam, Tengyueh Cotoneaster, Thimbleberry, Thin-leaved Whitebeam, Tibetan Cotoneaster, Tormentil, Trailing Tormentil, Tree Cotoneaster, Trefoil Cinquefoil, Twin-cliffs Whitebeam, Two-spined Acaena, Wall Cotoneaster, Water Avens, Waterer's Cotoneaster, Waxy Lady's-mantle, Welsh Cotoneaster, Welsh Whitebeam, White Burnet, White's Whitebeam, White-stemmed Bramble, Wild Cherry, Wild Pear, Wild Plum, Wild Service Tree, Wild Strawberry, Willmott's Whitebeam, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wood Avens, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
15 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, grassland, lawns, meadows, mountains, roadsides, rocky places, wasteland, woodland.

Yellow, 5 petals
Yellow, 5 petals, buttercup-like with a notch at the end of each petal.
A head of dry greyish-brown tiny nutlets, or achenes.
Long-stalked, alternate, compound leaves, with stipules. 3 to 5 toothed leaflets. The leaves look very similar in appearance to those of Strawberry and Creeping Cinquefoil is often misidentified as Strawberry.
Other Names:
Common Cinquefoil, Crampweed, Creeping Potentilla, Creeping Tormentil, European Cinquefoil, Five Finger Blossom, Five Fingers, Fivefinger Grass, Five-leaf Grass, Goose Tansy, Goosegrass, Moor Grass, Pentaphyllon, Sunkfield, Synkefoyle.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Potentilla reptans, also known as creeping cinquefoil or creeping potentilla, is a species of flowering plant in the rose family (Rosaceae). It is native to Europe and Asia, but has been introduced to other parts of the world as an ornamental plant. It is a perennial herb with small, yellow flowers that bloom from spring to fall. The leaves are divided into five leaflets and are hairy and dark green in color. Potentilla reptans spreads by means of runners or stolons, which take root at the nodes, forming a dense mat of foliage. It is often used as ground cover in gardens and is tolerant of a range of soil conditions. It is also drought-tolerant once established.


Creeping Cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans) is a low-growing perennial plant that belongs to the rose family. This plant is native to Europe and Asia and has become naturalized in North America. It is commonly found growing in meadows, woodland edges, and along streams and rivers.

Creeping Cinquefoil is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of soils, from heavy clays to sandy soils. It grows well in full sun or partial shade and is often used as a groundcover. The plant spreads by sending out runners and can quickly cover an area. This can make it an excellent choice for erosion control or as a weed suppressant in a garden setting.

The leaves of Creeping Cinquefoil are delicate and fern-like, with a light green color that is easy on the eyes. The plant produces bright yellow, five-petaled flowers from spring to summer, which are loved by bees and butterflies. The flowers are followed by seed pods that can be collected and scattered for future plants.

Creeping Cinquefoil is low maintenance and requires minimal care. It is drought-tolerant and can be left to grow without any additional watering once established. However, for best results, it is recommended to give the plant a light watering during prolonged dry spells.

Creeping Cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans) is an attractive and versatile plant that can be used in a variety of ways in the garden. Its spreading habit and low maintenance make it a great choice for groundcover or erosion control, while its delicate foliage and bright yellow flowers make it a lovely addition to a wildflower meadow or mixed border.

In addition to its ornamental value, Creeping Cinquefoil also has medicinal properties. It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including wounds, skin conditions, and digestive problems. The plant contains tannins, flavonoids, and other compounds that are believed to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

However, it is important to note that while Creeping Cinquefoil has been used traditionally for medicinal purposes, its efficacy and safety have not been fully established through scientific research. As with any medicinal plant, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before using it for medicinal purposes.

One of the unique features of Creeping Cinquefoil is its ability to grow in areas with poor soil conditions. This makes it a great choice for planting in areas that are difficult to cultivate, such as rocky slopes or along the edges of gravel paths. Its spreading habit also makes it a great choice for planting in areas with poor soil drainage, as it can help to reduce erosion and improve soil stability.

In terms of maintenance, Creeping Cinquefoil is an easy plant to care for. It requires very little pruning, and any pruning that is required should be done in the spring, after the plant has finished blooming. It is also a low-maintenance plant in terms of pest and disease control, and is generally not affected by common garden pests or diseases.

Creeping Cinquefoil is a great choice for gardeners who want an attractive, low-maintenance plant that can add color and interest to their garden. Whether planted as a groundcover, in a mixed border, or along a path, this hardy plant is sure to bring joy and beauty to any garden setting.

Creeping Cinquefoil is also a popular choice for landscaping and green roof projects due to its ability to tolerate a wide range of growing conditions. When planted on green roofs, the plant helps to improve the health of the roofing system by reducing the amount of rainwater runoff and providing insulation.

In landscaping, Creeping Cinquefoil is often used to add texture and color to rock gardens, along borders, or as a filler plant in mixed flower beds. Its spreading habit and low growing habit make it an excellent choice for planting under taller plants, as it will not interfere with their growth or block their light.

It is also important to mention that Creeping Cinquefoil is a non-invasive plant, meaning that it does not spread aggressively and is unlikely to become a nuisance in the garden. This makes it a great choice for gardeners who are looking for a low-maintenance groundcover that will not take over their garden.

In terms of propagation, Creeping Cinquefoil is easily propagated from seeds or cuttings. To propagate from seeds, simply scatter the seeds in a prepared bed and cover them with a light layer of soil. To propagate from cuttings, simply take a cutting of the plant, plant it in a pot filled with well-draining soil, and water regularly until roots have formed.

In conclusion, Creeping Cinquefoil is an excellent choice for gardeners who want an attractive, low-maintenance plant that will bring color and texture to their garden. With its ability to grow in a wide range of conditions, its non-invasive habit, and its versatility in the garden, this plant is sure to bring joy and beauty to any garden setting.


Creeping Cinquefoil filmed at Capernwray, Lancashire on the 17th August 2022.


Music credits
Happy Boy Theme by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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