Potentilla erecta

Common Name: erect cinquefoil 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Europe, northern Africa, southwestern Asia
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to August
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers light, well-drained loams.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Potentilla erecta, commonly called tormentil, is a small, rhizomatous, clump-forming European cinquefoil which typically grows 1-1.5' tall on weak, slender stems which are primarily upright but occasionally procumbent. It is commonly found throughout Eurasia in a variety of environments including bogs, heaths, moors, grasslands, open woods and alpine slopes. Features four-petaled (unusual for rose family) bright yellow flowers (1/2" diameter) on long stalks (petioles). Flowers bloom from late spring throughout much of the summer. Leaves are in stem-clinging rosettes consisting of 3-5 glossy, deeply-toothed, lanceolate to wedge-shaped leaflets. Astringent woody rhizomes are dried and sold as herbal medicines for treatment of a variety of ailments including diarrhea, gum canker and sore throat. Rhizomes have also been used for tanning leather and making red dyes. Synonymous with Potentilla tormentilla and Tormentilla erecta.

Genus name from Latin potens meaning powerful is in reference to the reputed medicinal properties of the plant.

Specific epithet means erect or upright.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Herb gardens, cottage gardens, rock gardens or border fronts.