Cinquefoil Potentilla spp.
Family: Rosaceae (Rose)
Branching: Alternate

Although there is at least one woody member of the Cinquefoil group (Shrubby Cinquefoil, Potenilla fruticosa), most are short herbaceous plants that are noticed in the winter due to their fruits.  The fruits look similar to St. John's Worts, but the Cinquefoils are alternate whereas St. John's Worts are opposite.  Most Cinquefoils are of European origin that grow in open disturbed areas.  When leaves are found, they are "palmately lobed", having five leaflets radiating out of a single point.  This is the source of the common name "Cinquefoil".  The one picture here is a herbaceous species.

The fruits of Cinquefoil

The fruits and an old leaf

Closeup of the fruits

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copyright 2008 Josh Sayers
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