Western Isles
 Western Isles of Scotland

Western Isles Wildflowers

Western Isles wildflowers is a collection of information about our Hebridean wildflowers including identification hints, traditional herbal uses and general plant lore.


Marsh Cinquefoil

Potentilla palustris

Gaelic name: Còig-bhileach Uisge

Wildflowers - Marsh Cinquefoil Wildflowers - Marsh Cinquefoil

Marsh cinquefoil is also known as marsh five-finger.

This plant is a low-growing, rather sprawling, perennial with reddish trailing stems. Marsh cinquefoil starts flowering in mid-June. The flowers are deep maroon or reddish-purple, with a shape reminiscent of the strawberry.

The plant stems can be as much as 1m long, and have 3 - 7 leaflets per leaf. The upper part of the stem and leaves are often hairy.

Marsh cinquefoil usually grows as an open sprawling mat at the water's edge. It also grows in boggy areas like the side of a ditch (but not on the moor). It likes a bit of soil rather than peat. The stem floats in shallow water or makes a sprawling mat along the shoreline. The upper part of the stem rises above the water surface 20-50cm.

This plant is a good source of nectar for bees, and the flowers produce a scent that attracts flies for pollination.

Marsh cinquefoil roots are the source of a red-yellow dye.

Marsh cinquefoil is related to the wild strawberry, silverweed and tormentil all native wildflowers of the Western Isles.


Photography © Suzanne Harris
Croir - Bernera - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
13th June, 2007

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