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Potentilla anserina - L.

Common Name Silverweed
Family Rosaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards Possible stomach irritation.
Habitats Ditches and moist calcareous soils[7]. A common weed of cultivation[1].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Iceland south and east to Iran, the Himalayas, Manchuria, Japan.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Potentilla anserina Silverweed


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Potentilla anserina Silverweed
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jeantosti

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Potentilla anserina is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Argentina anserina. Dactylophyllum anserinam. Fragaria anserina.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Lawn; Meadow; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Root
Edible Uses: Tea

Root - raw or cooked[66, 74, 183]. It can also be dried and ground into a powder then used in soups etc or mixed with cereals[5, 12, 13, 54]. A nice taste, crisp and nutty with a somewhat starchy flavour[85, 183]. The roots are rather thin, though perhaps their size cold be improved in cultivation[K]. Edible young shoots - raw[74]. A tea is made from the leaves.

Medicinal Uses

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Analgesic  Antidiarrhoeal  Antispasmodic  Astringent  Diuretic  Foot care  Haemostatic  Odontalgic  
Tonic

Contemporary medical herbalists believe that silverweed's main medicinal value lies in its astringency. It is less astringent than the related P. erecta, but it has a gentler action within the gastro-intestinal tract[254]. The whole plant is antispasmodic, mildly astringent, diuretic, foot care, haemostatic, odontalgic and tonic[4, 7, 9, 21]. A strong infusion is used to check the bleeding of piles and to treat diarrhoea, it is also used as a gargle for sore throats[4]. Externally, it is used as a powder to treat ulcers and haemorrhoids whilst the whole bruised plant, placed over a painful area, will act as a local analgesic[7, 254]. The roots are the most astringent part of the plant[4], they are harvested in late summer or autumn and dried for later use[254]. The leaves are harvested in early summer and dried for later use[4]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Potentilla anserina Silverweed for diarrhoea, inflammation of the mouth and pharynx, premenstrual syndrome (see [302] for critics of commission E).

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Other Uses

Cleanser  Tannin

A sprig placed in the shoe can help prevent blisters[66]. An infusion of the leaves makes an excellent skin cleansing lotion[66], it is also used cosmetically as a soothing lotion for reddened skin and for the delicate skins of babies[7]. All parts of the plant contain tannin, though the report does not give quantities[4]. A dynamic accumulator gathering minerals or nutrients from the soil and storing them in a more bioavailable form - used as fertilizer or to improve mulch.

Special Uses

Dynamic accumulator  Food Forest

Cultivation details

A very easily grown plant, succeeding in almost any soil, thriving in moist clays, though rather dwarfed in dry dusty soils[4]. It grows best in a well-drained loam, preferring a position in full sun but tolerating shade[1]. Prefers an alkaline soil but tolerates a slightly acid soil[200]. Silverweed was formerly cultivated for its edible root[5, 67]. It is still possibly cultivated in parts of Scotland (1992)[183]. This plant spreads vigorously by its running roots and can be very invasive[1, 4]. It grows well in a meadow, or places where the grass is only cut occasionally[K]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233]. For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a runner spreading indefinitely by rhizomes or stolons [1-2]. The root pattern is a tap root similar to a carrot going directly down [1-2]. The root pattern is stoloniferous rooting from creeping stems above the ground [1-2].

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Propagation

Seed - sow early spring or autumn in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division in spring. Division is also very easy at almost any time the plant is in growth. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Potentilla bicolor Perennial1.0 5-9  LMHSNM10 
Potentilla chinensisChinese CinquefoilPerennial0.6 -  LMHSNM11 
Potentilla cryptotaeniae Perennial1.0 -  LMHSNM01 
Potentilla discolor Perennial0.3 -  LMHSNM21 
Potentilla egedeiPacific SilverweedPerennial0.5 4-8  LMHSNM21 
Potentilla erectaTormentil, Erect cinquefoilPerennial0.3 4-8  LMHSNM13 
Potentilla fragarioides Perennial0.3 -  LMHSNM11 
Potentilla fruticosaShrubby Cinquefoil, PotentillaShrub1.2 2-6 MLMHSNM11 
Potentilla glandulosaGland Cinquefoil, Sticky cinquefoil, Arizona cinquefoil, Ashland cinquefoil, Ewan's cinquefoil, HansPerennial0.6 6-9  LMHSNM11 
Potentilla hippianaWoolly CinquefoilPerennial0.6 5-9  LMHSNM01 
Potentilla kleiniana Perennial0.3 -  LMHSNM11 
Potentilla multifida Perennial0.3 3-7  LMHSNM20 
Potentilla nepalensisNepal Cinquefoil, CinquefoilPerennial0.6 5-10 MLMHSNM21 
Potentilla norvegicaNorwegian CinquefoilAnnual/Perennial0.3 3-7  LMHSNM01 
Potentilla palustrisMarsh CinquefoilPerennial0.5 3-7  LMHSNWe11 
Potentilla rectaRough-Fruited Cinquefoil, Erect cinquefoilPerennial0.6 4-8  LMHSNM210
Potentilla reptansCinquefoil, Creeping cinquefoilPerennial1.0 4-8  LMHNDM120
Potentilla rupestrisRock CinquefoilPerennial0.5 4-8  LMHSNDM10 
Potentilla simplexOld Field Cinquefoil, Common cinquefoilPerennial0.1 3-7  LMHSNM010
Potentilla supina Annual/Perennial0.3 -  LMHSNM11 

 

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Botanical References

17200

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Readers comment

Michael Bouckley   Mon Jul 28 14:17:33 2003

Silver Weed aka Hedge Backy can be smoked, can help giving up tobacco, and or can be smoked with other "herbals" like cannabis.

glenn sinclair   Mon Oct 4 22:18:49 2004

This plant is mild,colsely related to P.recta although sulphur cinquefoil is probably the original hemp plant,it can be seen in the latin name database your typical street cannabis is just a mere cross between male nettle pollin and a female unpollinated potentilla recta plant.

Debrah   Tue May 29 2007

This plant is extremely invasive. A ornamental red flowering creeping potentilla was originally planted as a ground cover in a cultivated bed. Apparently that ground cover was a hybrid, and it's seeds sprouted and were a throwback to anserina (has this been encountered by anyone before?) The original ground cover died and anserina quickly spread by runners and seed up to 50 feet away in just two seasons. It has invaded healthy and maintained lawn as well. (Location: Denver Colorado)

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