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Trailing Tormentil

Potentilla anglica

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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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, Creeping Cinquefoil, 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, 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:
80 centimetres long
Fields, gardens, heathland, meadows, roadsides, wasteland, woodland.

Yellow, 4 petals
4-petalled flowers. Petals are notched. 16 yellow stamens.
The fruit is an achene.
3 to 5 leaflets. Leaflets are toothed and unstalked. Large, often lobed stipules. Trailing Tormentil is an intermediate between Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) and Creeping Tormentil (Potentilla reptans). Distinguishable from Tormentil by the lower leaves being short-stalked and the upper leaves, longer-stalked. Perennial.
Other Names:
Common Cinquefoil, English Cinquefoil, Erect Cinquefoil.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Potentilla anglica, also known as English cinquefoil, is a perennial herbaceous plant in the Rosaceae family. It is native to Europe and Western Asia, and is often found in meadows, pastures, and along roadsides. It has a low-growing habit, with green leaves that are divided into five leaflets, and produces yellow flowers with five petals in the spring and summer. The plant prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. It can be propagated by seed or division, and it's hardy to USDA Zone 3. It is a popular plant for wildflower gardens, meadows, and as a ground cover.


Trailing Tormentil: A Delightful and Hardy Wildflower

Trailing tormentil, also known as Potentilla anglica, is a hardy wildflower native to the grasslands and moorlands of the British Isles. This beautiful plant is a popular choice for gardeners, as it is easy to grow and maintain, and provides a delightful display of vibrant yellow flowers from June to September.

The name "tormentil" comes from the Latin word "tormentum," meaning "to twist," which refers to the way in which the roots of the plant twist and turn in the soil. This root system is one of the keys to the plant's hardiness and ability to thrive in difficult growing conditions. Trailing tormentil is well suited to grow in a variety of soils, including those that are dry, poor, and acidic, making it a popular choice for gardeners who want to create a wildflower garden or a low-maintenance landscape.

In addition to its hardiness, trailing tormentil is also highly attractive to a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hoverflies. This makes it a great choice for gardeners who want to support local wildlife and enhance the biodiversity of their garden. The bright yellow flowers are held on long stems, and are accompanied by attractive green leaves that provide a nice contrast to the flowers. The leaves are also edible and have a slightly bitter taste, making them a great addition to salads or sandwiches.

One of the best things about trailing tormentil is that it is very easy to propagate. Simply take a cutting from a healthy plant, plant it in a pot of moist soil, and place it in a sunny spot. In no time at all, you'll have a new plant that will be just as hardy and beautiful as the original.

If you're looking for a low-maintenance and hardy wildflower to add to your garden, consider trailing tormentil. This delightful plant is easy to grow, provides a beautiful display of vibrant yellow flowers, and is a great choice for gardeners who want to support local wildlife.

Aside from its ornamental value, trailing tormentil also has a rich history of medicinal uses. The roots and leaves of the plant contain tannins and other compounds that have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including diarrhea, wounds, and skin conditions.

In traditional folk medicine, a decoction of the roots was used to treat diarrhea and digestive problems, while a poultice made from the leaves was applied to wounds to help them heal. The plant was also used to treat skin conditions, such as eczema and rashes, and was believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.

While its medicinal properties have not been scientifically proven, trailing tormentil is still widely used in traditional medicine and is considered safe when used in moderation. However, it is always best to consult a healthcare professional before using any plant for medicinal purposes.

Aside from its ornamental and medicinal value, trailing tormentil is also an important plant for the ecosystem. The plant provides food and habitat for a variety of wildlife, including insects, birds, and small mammals. Its root system helps to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion, making it an important plant for restoring degraded land.

Trailing tormentil is a versatile and valuable plant that provides a wealth of benefits, both aesthetically and ecologically. Whether you're looking to add a beautiful wildflower to your garden, or you're interested in its medicinal properties, trailing tormentil is a plant worth considering.

Another interesting fact about trailing tormentil is that it is one of the few plants that can grow in extremely acidic soil. This is due to its ability to extract and store iron and other minerals from the soil, making it a great choice for gardeners who want to create a wildflower garden on difficult soil.

In addition to its ability to grow in acidic soil, trailing tormentil is also highly resistant to disease and pests. This makes it a great choice for gardeners who want to create a low-maintenance garden. Unlike many other wildflowers, trailing tormentil does not require regular fertilizing, and it can be left to grow and spread on its own, providing a beautiful and effortless display of yellow flowers.

Trailing tormentil is also a great choice for gardeners who want to create a wildlife-friendly garden. As mentioned before, the plant provides food and habitat for a variety of wildlife, including pollinators, birds, and small mammals. Its root system also provides shelter for a variety of invertebrates, making it an important plant for supporting biodiversity in the garden.

In conclusion, trailing tormentil is a versatile and valuable wildflower that provides a wealth of benefits for gardeners, wildlife, and the ecosystem. Whether you're looking to add a beautiful and hardy plant to your garden, or you're interested in its medicinal properties, trailing tormentil is a plant worth considering. So why not add this charming wildflower to your garden today and enjoy its many benefits!

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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