Botanical Name: Potentilla erecta
Species: P. erecta
Synonyms: Tormentilla erecta, Potentilla laeta, Potentilla tormentilla
Common Names: Tormentil, Erect cinquefoil, Rough-Fruited Cinquefoil, Erect cinquefoil
Habitat :Potentilla erecta is native to Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa, W. Asia, Siberia. It grows on grassland, heath, bog, fens, mountain tops and open woods, especially in light acid soils.
Potentilla erecta is a low, clump-forming perennial plant with slender, procumbent to arcuately upright stalks, growing 10–30 centimetres (3.9–11.8 in) tall and with non-rooting runners. It grows wild predominantly in Scandinavia, Europe, and western Asia mostly on acid soils in a wide variety of habitats, such as mountains, heaths, meadows, sandy soils and dunes.
This plant is flowering from May to August/September. There is one yellow, 7–11 millimetres (0.28–0.43 in) wide flower, growing at the tip of a long stalk. There are almost always four notched petals, each with a length between 3 and 6 mm. Four petals are rather uncommon in the rose family. The petals are somewhat longer than the sepals. There are 20–25 stamens.
The radical leaves have a long petiole, while the leaves on the flowering stalks are usually sessile or with short petioles. The glossy leaves are alternate, ternate, consisting of three obovate leaflets with serrate margins. The paired stipules are leaflike and palmately lobed.
There are 2–8 dry, inedible fruits.
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, lepidoptera.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Easily grown in a well-drained loam, preferring a position in full sun but tolerating shade. Prefers a light acid soil, disliking heavy and strongly calcareous soils. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.
Seed – sow early spring or autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.
Edible Uses: Tea.
The roots are extremely rich in tannin, long boiling converts this into a gum and it can then be eaten. An emergency food, it is only eaten when all else fails. A tea is made from the rhizomes.
Containing more tannin than oak bark, all parts of tormentil are strongly astringent, finding use wherever that action is required. This plant is considered to be one of the safest native astringents and it is widely used in herbal medicine in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery, sore throats etc. The whole plant, and especially the root, is antibiotic, strongly astringent, haemostatic and hypoglycaemic. It is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, ulcerative colitis etc. Externally, the plant makes a good styptic for cuts etc., and a strongly made decoction has been recommended as a wash for mouth ulcers, infected gums, piles and inflamed eyes. Extracts are used to treat chapping of the anus and cracked nipples. The plant’s effectiveness as a toothache remedy is undeniable and it has also been of benefit in treating bed-wetting by children.
Cosmetic; Dye; Tannin.
A red dye is obtained from the roots. The plant, and especially the root, is rich in tannin. It s used cosmetically as a compress to tone up flabby skin. The root contains up to 20% tannin.
Known Hazards : Gastrointestinal symptoms if doses over 1g. Interferes with iron absorption & other minerals when taken internally. Avoid if inflammatory or ulcerative bowel disease. Avoid if pregnant or lactating.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.