Sulfur cinquefoil - Potentilla recta
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A native of Eurasia, sulfur cinquefoil is found in central and southern Europe, the Middle East, the mountains of north Africa, and western and central Asia. In North America, the species reaches from Georgia in the southeast to Oregon, Washington, and southern British Columbia. (Werner and Soule 1976).
Sulfur cinquefoil was brought to North America from Europe, sometime before 1900. The exact date and location of the original introduction is not known (Werner and Soule 1976). By 1950, the plant was well established in the eastern United States and Canada, and the Great Lakes region. The plant spread west, and by 1976, it was reported from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, and Alberta.
Sulfur cinquefoil is a perennial that regenerates annually via new shoots emerging from the edges of the root mass. The central core of this mass slowly disintegrates. Therefore, long-lived plants consist of a circle of upright stems surrounding a core of old stems and leaves. The species flowers from June through July (Hitchcock and Cronquist 1961). There is some evidence that suggests that sulfur cinquefoil has the potential to form a persistent seed bank (Baskin and Baskin 1990).
Although not a serious agricultural weed, sulfur cinquefoil can form monocultures over large areas of rangeland, roadside, waste places, and unworked fields, where it is not easily controlled by mowing (Werner and Soule 1976). Sulfur cinquefoil is a strong competitor that reduces grass production on many rangeland sites (Rice et al. 1991). Because of its high tannin content, sulfur cinquefoil is unpalatable to most wildlife and livestock. In areas where sulfur cinquefoil grows with spotted knapweed, cattle will graze the knapweed over the cinquefoil (Rice et al 1991).
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For more information on this plant or management please contact US Army Corp of Engineers