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Potentilla anserina

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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, 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:
30 centimetres tall
Beaches, ditches, fields, gardens, grassland, meadows, riverbanks, riversides, roadsides, saltmarshes, sand dunes, seaside, wasteland, waterside, wetland.

Yellow, 5 petals
Solitary, stalked bright yellow flowers with 5 petals, 2cm across.
Clusters of dry nutlets (achenes).
All of the leaves are basal leaves. They are divided into 5 to 17 sharply-toothed, oval leaflets. The leaves have a silvery sheen on their undersides. The leaves are up to 20cm long.
Other Names:
Common Silverweed, Crampweed, Dog's Tansy, Goose Tansy, Goosegrass, Goosewort, Moor Grass, Potentilla, Silver Cinquefoil, Silver Tansy, Silverweed Cinquefoil, Trailing Tansy, Wild Agrimony, Wild Five-finger, Wild Tansy.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Potentilla anserina is a perennial herb in the Rosaceae family, also known as silverweed or goose tansy. It is native to Europe, Asia and North America, and it is common in wet meadows, along streams, and in other damp habitats. The plant has small, yellow flowers that bloom in the summer and it forms a low-growing, spreading mat. The leaves are deeply lobed and resemble a goose's foot. The root of this plant has been used as a tonic and a mild laxative. It is also used as a medicinal plant, particularly in the treatment of digestive complaints. In addition, it is used as an ornamental plant in gardens and meadows.


Silverweed (Potentilla anserina) is a common herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the rose family (Rosaceae). It is also known as goosegrass, silver cinquefoil, and wild five-finger. The plant is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, including Europe, Asia, and North America, and it grows in a wide range of habitats, including meadows, fields, riverbanks, and sandy soils.

Description and Morphology

Silverweed is a low-growing plant that typically reaches a height of 10 to 30 cm. It has a creeping, rhizomatous growth habit, with runners that spread out from the central plant to form new colonies. The leaves of silverweed are pinnately divided into five to seven toothed leaflets, giving the plant its common name of "five-finger." The leaves are green on top and silvery-white underneath, and they are arranged in a basal rosette.

In early summer, silverweed produces yellow, five-petaled flowers that are about 2 cm in diameter. The flowers are solitary or in small clusters and are held above the foliage on a long stem. The flowers are followed by small, dry, one-seeded fruits that are dispersed by the wind.


Silverweed has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. It was used by Native American tribes to treat a variety of ailments, including sore throats, stomachaches, and diarrhea. The plant was also used by European herbalists to treat wounds, fever, and digestive disorders.

Today, silverweed is still used as an herbal remedy for a variety of conditions. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory, astringent, and diuretic properties, and is used to treat diarrhea, sore throats, and urinary tract infections. The leaves and roots of the plant are also used to make tea, which is said to have a calming effect and can help with insomnia and anxiety.

Silverweed has also been used as a food source. The leaves, young stems, and flower buds of the plant are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. The plant has a slightly tart, apple-like flavor and is high in vitamin C.


Silverweed is a hardy plant that is easy to grow and requires little maintenance. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun but can tolerate some shade. The plant can be propagated by division or by planting runners. Once established, silverweed can spread rapidly and can be invasive in some areas.

Silverweed is a versatile and useful plant that has been used for centuries for its medicinal and culinary properties. While it is a common plant, it is still worth cultivating in gardens or wild areas for its unique qualities and benefits.

Ecology and Habitat

Silverweed is a widespread and adaptable plant that can be found in a variety of habitats. It is commonly found in meadows, fields, and along riverbanks, but can also be found in disturbed areas such as roadsides and construction sites. The plant can tolerate a wide range of soil types, from sandy to clay, and is drought-tolerant once established. It is also able to grow in acidic or alkaline soils.

Silverweed plays an important role in the ecosystem as a source of food and shelter for a variety of insects and animals. The plant's flowers provide nectar for bees and other pollinators, while the leaves and stems are eaten by a variety of herbivorous insects. The plant's dense root system also helps to stabilize soil and prevent erosion.

Conservation Status

Silverweed is a common plant and is not considered to be at risk of extinction. However, like many other plant species, it can be threatened by habitat loss and disturbance. In some areas, the plant is considered to be invasive and can outcompete native vegetation. It is important to be mindful of the potential impacts of introducing silverweed to new areas.

Cultural Significance

Silverweed has been used in folklore and traditional medicine for centuries. In some cultures, the plant is associated with healing and protection, and was used in rituals and ceremonies. In European folklore, the plant was said to be associated with fairies and was used to ward off evil spirits.

In some modern Pagan and Wiccan traditions, silverweed is still used in spiritual and magical practices. It is said to be associated with the element of water and is used in rituals for healing, protection, and purification.

Overall, silverweed is a fascinating and useful plant with a long history of human use and cultural significance. Its versatility and adaptability make it a valuable addition to gardens and natural areas, and its medicinal and culinary properties make it a valuable resource for those interested in herbalism and natural healing.

Potential Health Benefits

Silverweed is rich in antioxidants, which help to protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Research has also shown that silverweed has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which may help to reduce inflammation and fight infections.

Some studies have suggested that silverweed may be helpful in managing certain health conditions. For example, a 2015 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that silverweed extract was able to reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes in postmenopausal women. Another study, published in the journal Natural Product Research in 2018, found that silverweed extract was able to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria that can cause infections.

While more research is needed to fully understand the potential health benefits of silverweed, it is clear that this plant has many medicinal properties that may be helpful in managing a variety of health conditions.

Silverweed (Potentilla anserina) is a common and versatile plant that has been used for centuries for its medicinal and culinary properties. While it is often overlooked, silverweed is a valuable resource for those interested in herbalism and natural healing. Its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties make it a promising candidate for managing a variety of health conditions, and its cultural significance adds to its unique appeal. Whether you're interested in cultivating it in your garden or simply appreciating it in the wild, silverweed is a fascinating and useful plant that is worth getting to know.

Culinary Uses

In addition to its medicinal properties, silverweed also has culinary uses. The young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, and have a slightly sour taste that is similar to sorrel. The leaves can be used in salads, soups, stews, and other dishes to add a tangy flavor.

The roots of the plant can also be harvested and used as a starchy vegetable. The roots can be boiled, mashed, and roasted, and are a good source of carbohydrates. In some parts of the world, silverweed roots have been traditionally used as a staple food crop.

It is important to note that while silverweed is generally safe to consume, it is always a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable herbalist or healthcare professional before using any plant for medicinal or culinary purposes.

In conclusion, silverweed is a fascinating and useful plant with a long history of human use. Its medicinal and culinary properties make it a valuable resource for those interested in herbalism, natural healing, and sustainable agriculture. Whether you're interested in cultivating it in your garden or simply appreciating it in the wild, silverweed is a plant that is worth getting to know.


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