Herbs & Plants

Potentilla chinensis

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Botanical Name: Potentilla chinensis
Familia: Rosaceae
Subfamilia: Rosoideae
Tribus: Potentilleae
Subtribus: Potentillinae
Genus: Potentilla
Species: Potentilla chinensis

Common Name : Chinese Cinquefoil

Habitat : Potentilla chinensis is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea, Manchuria. It grows on sandy sunny places, especially along the banks of rivers, C. and S. Japan. Meadows on mountain slopes, grassland, ravines, forest edge, thickets or sparse forest; 400-3200 metres.

Potentilla chinensis is a perennial herb growing to 0.6 m (2ft). Roots robust, terete, slightly woody. Flowering stems erect or ascending, 20–70 cm tall, sparsely pubescent and sericeous-villous. Radical leaves 4–25 cm including petiole; stipules brown, submembranous, abaxially white sericeous-villous; petiole pubescent and sericeous-villous; leaf blade pinnate with 5–15 pairs of leaflets; leaflets opposite or alternate, at intervals of 5–8 mm, sessile, oblong, obovate, or oblong-lanceolate, 1–5 × 0.5–1.5 cm, gradually becoming smaller toward leaf blade base, abaxially white tomentose, white sericeous-villous on veins, adaxially pubescent or glabrescent, midvein concave, margin revolute, pinnatifid or parted to midvein or nearly so, apex obtuse or acute; segments triangular-ovate, triangular-lanceolate, oblong-lanceolate, or linear; cauline leaves resembling radical ones but leaflets fewer; stipules green, herbaceous, margin sharply serrate. Inflorescence corymbose-cymose. Flowers 0.8–1(–1.3) cm in diam.; pedicel 0.5–1.5 cm, densely pubescent, with lanceolate bracts at base. Sepals triangular-ovate, apex acute; epicalyx segments fasciated or lanceolate, ca. 1/2 as long as sepals, abaxially pubescent and slightly sericeous-pilose, apex narrowly acute. Petals yellow, broadly obovate, slightly longer than sepals, apex emarginate. Style subterminal, base slightly thickened, slightly papillate; stigma dilated. Achenes dark brown, ovoid, markedly rugose. Flower and fruit…..inbetween  Apr–Oct.


The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.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.

We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Easily grown in a well-drained loam, preferring a position in full sun but tolerating shade. Prefers an alkaline soil but tolerates a slightly acid soil. 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:
Young shoots and leaves – cooked. A famine food, it is only used when all else fails.

Medicinal Uses:
The plant is rich in tannins. It is astringent and is used in the treatment of diarrhoea. It is also emmenagogue and febrifuge. It is used in Korea to treat fevers and as a women’s tonic. The plant has antitumour activity
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.


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