Sulphur cinquefoil

Sulphur cinquefoil

Fact Sheet


Latin Name: Potentilla recta 

Origin:  Eurasia

Physical Description: it is a perennial herb from a thick, simple to branched, stem-base. Stems are erect, slender, have perpendicular hairs and grows up to 0.8 meters tall. Leaves are hairy and separated into 5-7 toothed leaflets that are serrated along the edges and arranged in a palm-like formation. Flowers are pale to bright yellow in colour and have 5 heart-shaped petals.

Habitat: it inhabits a wide range of dry to moist environments and is often found invading rocky or low nutrient soils.  It can commonly be found growing in grasslands, pastures, rangeland, waste areas, roadsides, and other disturbed areas.

Impacts: it out-competes native plants, reducing biodiversity. It can significantly reduce pasture productivity and available forage for livestock and wildlife; it is not readily grazed by livestock and wildlife due to its unpleasant taste.

Reproduction: it reproduces mainly by seed, but can also reproduce by vegetative growth if roots are severed. A single plant can produce over 1600 seeds, and these seeds remain viable in the soil for up to 4 years. A single plant can live for up to 20 years.

Similar Species: sulphur cinquefoil is often confused with the native graceful cinquefoil (Potentilla gracilis), which is shorter and has white woolly hair on the underside of the leaves. The stems of sulphur cinquefoil have perpendicular hairs, which differentiate it from most native potentilla species. 

Management Options

Mechanical: small populations can be removed before seed maturation by manual digging, as long as the entire root crown is removed to prevent re-sprouting. Mowing alone is not an effective method as plants will grow new shoots. Repeated cultivation followed by seeding with desirable grass species can control emerged plants but can also stimulate re-growth.

Chemical: several herbicides with the following active ingredients can control Sulphur cinquefoil: glyphosate, 2, 4-D, aminopyralid, picloram, triclopyr, chlorsulfuron, and metsulfuron.  For available products, contact your local agri-supply store. Prior to any herbicide application, read and follow the label instructions.

Biological: None available.

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