Eastern states and westward.
The flowers of this plant, although larger, are very similar in arrangement to those of the common cinquefoil. It seems to be the patriarch of the family and has from five to seven long, narrow leaflets, which are more flattering in shape to the fingers after which it was christened than those of the rest of the genus. It also grows as high as four feet, and is very shrubby.
The plant is a good example of the theory that is now accepted, and the one through which Goethe appeared on the platform of science. It is that of the morphology of the suddenly arrested branch into the flower. The circular growth of the leaves is very similar to that of the sepals and petals, and which are in reality nothing but transformed leaves. The calyx has a double row of five sepals, the outer one spreading and the inner one bent to give some protection to the naked seeds. There are also five petals. The stamens are then naturally in some multiple of five. When the growth is very rapid it is sometimes the case that some of these parts are obliterated.
Shrubby cinquefoil is most capricious of soil and locality, and is said to circle the globe. In the eastern states it favours low, moist meadows or even swamps, but chooses drier soil as it travels westward, until in Michigan it flourishes in sandy soil. To a classification according to soil its vagaries are not only trying, but inexcusable.