The photo above shows a close-up of the flower of erect cinquefoil as seen at the eastern entrance to Trombetta Canyon (a limestone canyon) in northeastern Washington.........June 24, 2006. Note the 25 stamens on this flower, a characteristic of this species.
Eerect cinquefoil is a perennial with one to several erect stems from 30-80 cm high. The stems are often simple but may also be branched. The greenish herbage is variable, ranging from sparsely to copiously haired. Many of the hairs are longer and somewhat appressed to spreading while there are also numerous shorter hairs that are spreading and sometimes gland-tipped. Several basal leaves may be found, but they are more abundant on the stems. The digitate leaves have 5-7 leaflets which largely spread from a central point. Each leaflet is prominently veined and measures 3-8 cm long with the teeth or short lobes along the margins cut no more than half the distance into the midvein. The stipules at the base of the leaf petiole measure 1-2 cm long and are lanceolate to ovate in shape.
The inflorescence is a many-flowered, often flat-topped cyme. They are often leafy-bracteate at the lower nodes.The branches of the cyme are generally ascending. The calyx is cup-like and up to 12 cm wide. The calyx lobes number more than 5 and are up to5-9 mm long. The 5 yellowish petals are obovate in shape with a notch at the tip. They are equal to or are longer than the sepals. Numerous pistils are clustered at the center of the flower and are surrounded by 25 stamens.
Silvery Cinquefoil: Potentilla argentea - Plants with whitish tomentose hairs on the ventral leaf surface. Leaflets up to 2.5 cm long. Leafy stems, with few if any basal leaves. Plants leafy-bracteate within the inflorescence. Flowers less than 1 cm broad. 20 stamens.
Graceful Cinquefoil: Potentilla gracilis - Ventral surface of the leaf blades vary from greenish with hirsute hairs, to gray-or whitish with tomentose hairs. Leaflets 3-8 cm long. Leaves mainly basal with some stem leaves which are held away from the stem. Plants not leafy-bracteate within the inflorescence. Flowers 1-2 cm broad. Stamens 20.
Erect cinquefoil may be found in disturbed soils in fields, along roads, waste places or in open forests which have been disturbed.
Erect cinquefoil is native to Eurasia and has become established across much of eastern North America. It is common westward to northwestern Montana and eastern Washington, although it can occasionally be found in many counties across Washington.
In the Columbia River Gorge erect cinquefoil may be occasionally found between the elevations of 100'-2000' from east of Cape Horn eastward to near Lyle, WA.