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Common cinquefoil (Potentilla simplex)—Arthur W. AmblerThe 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 (seelandscape gardening).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on cinquefoil, visit Britannica.com.