Creeping Cinquefoil – Potentilla reptans
Every now and again I run across something that I’ve literally been trodding underfoot for decades. Something that I *knew* was useful in some manner, but had never personally used. Most of the time I’ll even know the common name for such things, but haven’t bothered to research an actual use for them, as I did in the case of the Creeping Cinquefoil. It tends to grow prolifically on my property near the woodline with my wild strawberries. It helps that it spreads by runners, so it can spread itself out pretty quickly.
Well it turns out that both the leaves and roots of the plant are both edible, and the root has some pretty impressive historical medicinal uses as well. Whilst I can’t speak to that aspect, all the reliable sources that I can find insist that both the leaves and roots are edible.
Creeping Cinquefoil – Potentilla reptans is a lowly plant that you wouldn’t much notice until and unless it’s in flower. The flowers have five petals, and the plant has five leaves.
They look quite akin to strawberry leaves in a way, and many people do indeed mistake them for strawberry. They always catch my eye though, as things with multiple leaves and serrations tend to stand out to me, whether they are in flower or not.
Not only that, it tends to grow in the company of some fine friends. Look at this last picture. Just glancing at it I can spot clover, plantain, and violet as other wild edibles which are growing right next to it.
As I don’t like reporting heresay on things I haven’t personally eaten, I’ll cut this short. Once I’ve eaten some of the leaves and prepared the roots this spring, I’ll do a follow up report.