Silverweed

Potentilla anserina

Common Name: Silverweed

  • A low plant with arching runners.
  • Alternating large and small leaflets that are silver underneath.
  • Numerous yellow flowers.
  • Flowers from May to September.

Native or Invasive: Native perennial

Characteristics: Silverweed starts as a series of ladderlike leaflets, but it soon sends out long stolons that root and form new tufts of leaflets. The flowers have five bright yellow petals and one flower grows per slender, naked (without leaves) stem. Silverweed, as it is more commonly known as, has a circumboreal range, meaning it grows in the northern habitats of the world, including Eurasia and North America. There are many herbaceous species of potentilla. However, silverweed is the most common one found on beaches. They are sometimes confused with strawberry plants.

Habitat: Calcareous, moist gravelly or sandy shores. Also found in wet meadows.

Fun Fact: The starchy root of the Silverweed has a flavor that has been compared to parsnips, sweet potatoes and chestnuts and is consumed by people in certain parts of the world.

Ethnobotanical Uses: None known, however, similar plants in the potentilla genus have been used to treat sore throats, stomach pains and aches and pains.

Adapted from Guide to Great Lakes Coastal Plants, by Ellen Elliott Weatherbee, University of Michigan Press.