The Rose Family in Iceland, Part 2: Potentillas

Worldwide there are almost 1,700 species of Potentilla. More than 80 can be found in North America, four of which are in the Maryland Piedmont, including dwarf cinquefoil and common cinquefoil. There are five in Iceland.


Potentilla crantzii
alpine cinquefoil
Icelandic: gullmura

those fleshy leaves–>
belong to another plant;
the potentilla leaves are
pictured below:

Potentilla anserina
formerly Argentina anserina
Icelandic: tágamura




Providing stats for Potentillas is tricky, as there have been a lot of name changes recently. One of the older names for P. crantzii is Fragaria crantzii. The two genera are very closely related, so I’ve included this plant as well:



Fragaria vesca
Icelandic: jarðarber


Yep, that’s good old strawberry (one of them, anyway). You can see a bit of the leaves on the lower right. The grassy looking stuff the flowers are poking through is horsetail (Equisetum species).

Back to silverweed: it can be found across the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, and in most of North America except for the South and lower Midwest. It’s widespread in Iceland.

Alpine cinquefoil is limited in North America to northeastern Canada and Greenland. In Iceland it grows near rivers and the seashore.

What’s Green Now? Dwarf Cinquefoil


Potentilla canadensis; Rosaceae

I can find no source to confirm that this plant is a true evergreen.  There are still-green leaves of it, but not many – and dwarf cinquefoil is everywhere.  So I have to conclude that there are some leaves that are protected enough to last.

Some authorities consider dwarf cinquefoil to be weedy.  It is very low-growing and prefers disturbed, low-nutrient soils, but does that make it a weed?  Not in my eyes.  Look for the charming rose-like flowers starting in late April.