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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

18 December, 2016

Creeping Cinquefoil: foiled again

One look at the creeping cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans) flower and leaves is sufficient to identify it as a member of the rose family. The flower has five petals that form an open rose-like circle and the leaves five triangular segments with toothed edges similar to the dog-rose and other rose family members. With five lobed leaves it is easy to see how it became called cinquefoil, cinque being French for five of course. This is a certainly a creeping plant that sprawls across the ground, the thin stems branching to a single flower head at frequent intervals, Creeping cinquefoil does seem a suitable name for it. 
Widespread and common where there is bare or sparsely vegetated ground and it can become invasive if in the wrong place and it can be difficult to eradicate. It should be easily identified provided you take a little care as the flowers alone could be muddled with silverweed and it has much in common with tormentil but that usually only has four petals. To confuse it with a buttercup is unforgivable! 
Like many of our herbs it has a tradition of curing many illnesses including diarrhoea, sore throats and toothache.
Creeping Cinquefoil: foiled again