Over the dry hilltop and among the low grasses, the traveling stems of common cinque-foil follows their whims and root where they rest on bare earth. They are very much like a strawberry in this, and the plant, in fact, minus its bright yellow little buttercup of a flower, might be confused with a wild strawberry plant setting out its runners.
Potentilla simplex Michx.
May - June. Grassy places, uplands.
The cinquefoil is a common plant, one much loved by children who think it is a small sort of buttercup but very welcome anyway to add to a bouquet. The flowers are half an inch broad, bright gleaming yellow with five, bluntly heart-shaped petals around a yellow center composed of many stamens. Like the other cinquefoils. it is a member of the Rose family, whose tribal characteristics are easily visible in the simple flower and the compound leaves.
Five-finger, it is often called. Anyone who saw those five neat leaflets on the leaf-stem, alternately placed along the traveling runners, would know why someone called the cinquefoil by that easily remembered name. It is found commonly in dry places and in the sand country, in sunny, dry oak clearings, when May is past its middle and summer is coming warmly down upon the land.