[Cinquefoils West of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington]

Common Silverweed, Pacific Silverweed, Silverweed Cinquefoil

Potentilla anserina ssp. pacifica

Synonyms: Argentina egedii, Argentina egedii ssp. egedii, Potentilla anserina ssp. egedii, Potentilla anserina var. grandis, Potentilla anserina var. lanata, Potentilla anserina var. rolandii, Potentilla egedii, Potentilla egedii ssp. grandis, Potentilla egedii var. grandis, Potentilla pacifica, Potentilla rolandii

Common Silverweed, Pacific Silverweed, Silverweed Cinquefoil: Potentilla anserina ssp. pacifica (Synonym: Argentina anserina, Argentina egedii, Argentina egedii ssp. egedii, Potentilla anserina var. grandis, Potentilla pacifica)

Silverweed growing at the base of riprap in Nehalem Bay at Wheeler, OR..........May 22, 2009.

Characteristics:

Silverweed as its name implies is a grayish-haired, tufted perennial which arises from thick, fleshy roots. The flowering stems range from 3-28 cm high and the plant has long, slender stolons which root and sprout at the nodes. The basal leaves are 10-20 cm long and pinnately compound. The 11-25 leaflets are coarsely toothed, obovate to oblong in shape, and from 1-3.5 cm long. The larger leaflets are commonly interspersed with smaller ones. The blades may be greenish above, but are commonly whitish or grayish-woolly haired on both surfaces.

The flowers are solitary at the nodes of the stolons. The calyx is silky with the sepals ovate-triangular in shape and 4-6 mm long. The 5 yellow petals are each oblong-obovate to oval in shape and 8-12 mm long. The pistils are numerous and there about 20-25 stamens.


Importance:

The rhizomes of silverweed evidently taste like parsnips, sweet potatoes, or chestnuts. They may be eaten raw, but are best eaten roasted, boiled, or fried. They may also be dried for storage. The roots were collected by Native Americans during the fall months as that was evidently the time they were most flavorful. As silverweed stimulates the uterine muscle, it should not be eaten by women who are pregnant.


Habitat:

Silverweed is found in moist, open sites near water. Such locations include streambanks, mud flats, pond margins, and meadows.


Range:

Silverweed is found mainly east of the Cascades from Alaska south to southern California, and east to the Atlantic coast. It is also an Eurasian species.


Flower of Common Silverweed, Pacific Silverweed, Silverweed Cinquefoil: Potentilla anserina ssp. pacifica (Synonym: Argentina anserina, Argentina egedii, Argentina egedii ssp. egedii, Potentilla anserina var. grandis, Potentilla pacifica) - Petals and calyx of Common Silverweed, Pacific Silverweed, Silverweed Cinquefoil: Potentilla anserina ssp. pacifica (Synonym: Argentina anserina, Argentina egedii, Argentina egedii ssp. egedii, Potentilla anserina var. grandis, Potentilla pacifica) - Common Silverweed, Pacific Silverweed, Silverweed Cinquefoil: Potentilla anserina ssp. pacifica (Synonym: Argentina anserina, Argentina egedii, Argentina egedii ssp. egedii, Potentilla anserina var. grandis, Potentilla pacifica)

Close-ups of the flower (left and center) of silverweed as seen growing at the base of riprap in Nehalem Bay at Wheeler, OR.........May 22, 2009. The photo at right shows a flower of silverweed as seen on rocks at the higher part of the beach about one-half mile south of Oceanside, Oregon.........August 18, 2016.

Common Silverweed, Pacific Silverweed, Silverweed Cinquefoil: Potentilla anserina ssp. pacifica (Synonym: Argentina anserina, Argentina egedii, Argentina egedii ssp. egedii, Potentilla anserina var. grandis, Potentilla pacifica) - Common Silverweed, Pacific Silverweed, Silverweed Cinquefoil: Potentilla anserina ssp. pacifica (Synonym: Argentina anserina, Argentina egedii, Argentina egedii ssp. egedii, Potentilla anserina var. grandis, Potentilla pacifica)

Silverweed as seen on the cobble beach at Oceanside, OR..........June 19, 2010.

Common Silverweed, Pacific Silverweed, Silverweed Cinquefoil: Potentilla anserina ssp. pacifica (Synonym: Argentina anserina, Argentina egedii, Argentina egedii ssp. egedii, Potentilla anserina var. grandis, Potentilla pacifica)

Pacific silverweed blooming at the upper tide line on the western edge of Tillamook Bay, northern Oregon coast.........June 13, 2010.

Common Silverweed, Pacific Silverweed, Silverweed Cinquefoil: Potentilla anserina ssp. pacifica (Synonym: Argentina anserina, Argentina egedii, Argentina egedii ssp. egedii, Potentilla anserina var. grandis, Potentilla pacifica) - Common Silverweed, Pacific Silverweed, Silverweed Cinquefoil: Potentilla anserina ssp. pacifica (Synonym: Argentina anserina, Argentina egedii, Argentina egedii ssp. egedii, Potentilla anserina var. grandis, Potentilla pacifica)

Pacific silverweed still blooming high on the beach at Ona Beach, south of Newport, OR.........September 30, 2017.

Common Silverweed, Pacific Silverweed, Silverweed Cinquefoil: Potentilla anserina ssp. pacifica (Synonym: Argentina anserina, Argentina egedii, Argentina egedii ssp. egedii, Potentilla anserina var. grandis, Potentilla pacifica) - Common Silverweed, Pacific Silverweed, Silverweed Cinquefoil: Potentilla anserina ssp. pacifica (Synonym: Argentina anserina, Argentina egedii, Argentina egedii ssp. egedii, Potentilla anserina var. grandis, Potentilla pacifica)

The photo at left shows pacific silverweed blooming at the upper tide line on the beach at Oceanside, Oregon............August 25, 2012. The photo at right shows pacific silverweed blooming at the end of Jetty Road SW at Bandon South Jetty Park, Bandon, Oreogn........April 18, 2016.

Paul Slichter