Common cinquefoil

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.

Scientific name: Potentilla simplex Michx.

Common name(s): common cinquefoil, oldfield cinquefoil

Links: USDA PLANTS Profile, NPIN Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


– perennial

-Rosaceae family

-stolons turn red with age

-Short rootstocks give way to slender stems that run 3′ or less along the ground.

-leaves have:

  • compound
  • alternate
  • Five leaflets toothed for 3/4 of their length
  • 3/4″-2 1/2″ long.

-Flowers 1/4″-1/2″ wide with yellow petals on long stalks arising from leaf axis.

– may be confused with P. canadensis; see left sidebar of Go Botany webpage


-disturbed sites





Go Botany. “Potentilla Simplex Michx.” Potentilla Simplex (Common Cinquefoil, Old-Field Cinquefoil): Go Botany, 2020,