If we could see the world the way the wild ones do, would we dare to care?
Cinquefoil attracts small bees and flies for pollen and nectar. Rabbits, groundhogs, deer, and livestock sometimes visit to nibble on the foliage. Cinquefoil is a member of the Rosaceae, or rose, family. A number of native and non-native species are found in New England.
Natives in New England include: Potentilla canadensis or dwart cinquefoil, P. litoralis or coast cinquefoil, P. norvegica or Norwegian cinquefoil, P. robbinsiana or Robbins’ cinquefoil, and P. simplex or common cinquefoil.
Natives to areas of the United States include: P. gracilis or graceful cinquefoil, P. litoralis or coast cinquefoil, P. norvegica or Norwegian cinquefoil, P. pulcherrima or soft cinquefoil, P. rivalis or brook cinquefoil, and P. simplex or common cinquefoiol.
Non-natives include: P. alba or white cinquefoil, P. anglica or English cinquefoil, P. argentea or silver-leaved cinquefoil, P. inclinata or ashy cinquefoil, P. indica or Indian-strawberry, P. intermedia or downy cinquefoil, P. recta or sulphur cinquefoil, P. reptans or creeping cinquefoil, and P. verna or spring cinquefoil.
Does it matter which you plant? That depends on your intent, food for a pollinator, decorative, or fits your particular habitat and garden plan, and whether a plant turns out to be considered an invasive species in your area.
For images, range maps, and more information on each species visit Go Botany: https://gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org/genus/potentilla/