Herbs & Plants

Potentilla reptans

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Botanical Name :Potentilla reptans
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Potentilla
Species: P. reptans
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms:  Cinquefoil. Five Fingers. Five-Finger Blossom. Sunkfield. Synkefoyle.

Common Names :Five-leaf Grass,Five-leaved or Five Fingers, Creeping cinquefoil, European cinquefoil or creeping tormentil, Jacob’s Ladder or Greek Valerian, Potentilla  canadensis

Habitat:  Potentilla reptans is  native to Eurasia and Northern Africa and naturalized elsewhere.It grows in dry sunny locations in meadows, pastures and waste ground, usually on basic or neutral soils.

Potentilla reptans is a creeping perennial plant with large yellow flowers(about 2 cm in diameter) like the Silverweed and it blooms in June – August, each one growing on its own long stalk, which springs from the point at which the leaf joins the stem. The rootstock branches at the top from several crowns, from which arise the long-stalked root-leaves and thread-like, creeping stems, which bear stalked leaves and solitary flowers. These stem-runners root at intervals and as they often attain a length of 5 feet, the plant is rapidly propagated, spreading over a wide area. It grows freely in meadows, pastures and by the wayside.
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The name Five-leaved or Five Fingers refers to the leaves being divided into five leaflets. Each of these is about 1 1/2 inch long, with scattered hairs on the veins and margin, the veins being prominent below. The margins of the leaflets are much serrated. In rich soils the leaflets are often six or seven. Out of a hundred blossoms once picked as a test, eighty had the parts of the corolla, calyx and epicalyx in fives, and the remaining twenty were in sixes.

Easily grown in a well-drained loam, preferring a dry position in full sun but tolerating shade . Prefers an alkaline soil but tolerates a slightly acid soil. The plant spreads vigorously by means of runners and can be invasive with new runners up to 1.5 metres long being produced each year. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer. The flowers are partially closed in dull weather and close completely of a night time. When closing, self-fertilisation is affected because the anthers are caused to touch the stigmas.

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 or autumn. 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 leaves are eaten raw. A useful addition to salads.

Medicinal Uses:

 Parts Used: Herb, root.

Antispasmodic; Astringent; Febrifuge; Odontalgic.

Both the roots and the herb are antispasmodic, astringent and febrifuge. An infusion of the dried herb is used in the treatment of diarrhoea etc, it is also used as a gargle for sore throats and is used externally as an astringent lotion. A concentrated decoction of the root relieves toothache.

The outer bark of the root has been used as a remedy for diarrhea and internal hemorrhages.  The powder also makes an astringent for mouth sores and relieves diarrhea.  Taken with honey, it relieves sore throats, coughs and fever. A decoction made by boiling  one ounces of root in a quart of water until the liquid is reduced to one pint, or an infusion of one ounce of the dried leafy tops, steeped for 10 or 15 minutes in a pint of water, are both suggested in old herbals.

Other Uses:
The herb is used in cosmetic.The plant is an ingredient in many anti-wrinkle cosmetic preparations for the skin.The flowers attract butterfly.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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