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Plant of the Week: Potentilla palustris

Plant of the Week! You’re probably familiar with Potentilla fruticosa, commonly referred to as just “Potentilla”, (or the McDonald’s shrub! 😆), but there are other Potentilla species here in Wisconsin. One of these is Potentilla palustris, or Marsh Cinquefoil. As its name suggests, this plant can be found on wet sites such as “shallow, often sphagnum-dominated ponds, bogs, wet meadows, marshes, stream banks, and lake margins” (Flora of North America, efloras.org). The color of the flowers is beautiful, ranging from red to purple, and the pinnately compound leaves can be somewhat reminiscent of a strawberry plant. In fact, Marsh Cinquefoil is closely related to Strawberry, and they have been crossed to produce ornamental hybrids. The plant shown here was found in Cedarburg Bog, a unique and beautiful place to find this, and many other typically northern species.


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