Stem. - Slender, prostrate, or sometimes erect. Leaves. - Divided really into three leaflets, but apparently into five by the parting of the lateral leaflets. Flowers. - Yellow, growing singly from the axils of the leaves. Calyx. - Deeply five-cleft, with bracts between each tooth, thus appearing ten-cleft. Corolla. - Of five rounded petals. Stamens. - Many. Pistils. - Many in a head.
From spring to nearly midsummer the roads are bordered and the fields carpeted with the bright flowers of the common cinquefoil. The passer-by unconsciously betrays his recognition of some of the prominent features of the Rose family by often assuming that the plant is a yellow-flowered wild strawberry. Both of the English names refer to the pretty foliage, cinquefoil being derived from the French cinque feuilles. The generic name, Potentilla, has reference to the powerful medicinal properties formerly attributed to the genus.