Common cinquefoil (Potentilla simplex)—Arthur W. Ambler—The National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers

Any of the approximately 500 species of shrubs and herbaceous plants in the genus Potentilla (rose family). The common name, meaning “five-leaved,” refers to the number of leaflets in the compound leaf of most species. Most species are native to the northern temperate zone and the Arctic and are chiefly perennial. The stems are creeping or erect. The solitary, five-petaled flowers are usually yellow, sometimes white or red in horticultural varieties. P. fruticosa includes many dwarf shrubs used in landscaping (see landscape gardening).

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on cinquefoil, visit

Seen & Heard

What made you look up cinquefoil? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.