Cariboo Chilcotin Invasive Plant Committee | CCCIPC

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Sulphur Cinquefoil

Potentilla recta

Sulphur cinquefoil (Potentilla recta) is a perennial and considered regionally noxious under the BC Weed Control Act. It is commonly found on grasslands, shrubby areas, dry open forests, and disturbed sites such as roadsides, pastures, and rangelands. Sulphur cinquefoil is currently distributed in the following areas: Columbia-Shuswap, North Okanagan, Okanagan-Similkameen, and Thompson-Nicola Regional Districts, as well as the southeast coast of Vancouver Island and the Fraser Canyon between Boston Bar and Kanaka Bar.

A member of the Rose family, sulphur cinquefoil has pale yellow flowers, each with five heart-shaped petals. Its hairy leaves are divided into five to seven separate, toothed leaflets that become shorter-stalked closer to the shoot. Plants grow 0.3-0.8 metres in height at maturity.

Sulphur cinquefoil spreads mainly by seed; a single plant can produce 1,600 seeds, living up to 20 years as new shoots can emerge from the main root. While seeds only survive up to two years, they disperse effectively on or through the digestive system of birds, wildlife, and livestock. Seeds can also spread in mud caught in tire tread or undercarriages of vehicles and machinery, or by being picked up on hooves or in hair. Due to its unpleasant taste, infestations decrease available forage for grazing animals, as well as decrease local plant biodiversity.