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HerbaceousSpecies Plant

Potentilla argentea

Potentilla argentea

The hoary cinquefoil or silver cinquefoil, silvery cinquefoil, silver-leaf cinquefoil (Potentilla argentea L.) is a herbaceous species belonging to the Rosaceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota Domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Subarign Tracheobionta,
Spermatophyta superdivision,
Magnoliophyta Division,
Magnoliopsida class,
Subclass Rosidae,
Rosales Order,
Rosaceae family,
Subfamily Rosoideae,
Genus Potentilla,
P. argentea species.
The following terms are synonymous:
– Fragaria argentea (L.) Crantz;
– Hypargyrium argentatum (Jord.) Fourr .;
– Hypargyrium argenteum (L.) Fourr .;
– Hypargyrium border (Jord.) Fourr .;
– Hypargyrium decumbens (Jord.) Fourr. ;
– Hypargyrium demissum (Jord.) Fourr .;
– Hypargyrium tenuilobum (Jord.) Fourr .;
– Pentaphyllum argenteum (L.) Nieuwl .;
– Jord silver potentilla. ex verl .;
– Potentilla argentea var. angustisecta F.Saut .;
– Potentilla argentea subsp. silver (Jord.ex Verl.) O.Schwarz;
– Potentilla argentea var. silver (Jord.ex Verl.) Nyman;
– Potentilla argentea var. silvery;
– Potentilla argentea var. confinis (Jord.) Rouy & EGCamus;
– Potentilla argentea subsp. decumbens (Jord.) O. Schwarz;
– Potentilla argentea var. decumbens (Jord.) Focke;
– Potentilla argentea subsp. demissa (Jord.) Berher;
– Potentilla argentea var. demissa (Jord.) Lehm. ;
– Potentilla argentea var. discolor Treat .;
– Potentilla argentea var. grandiceps (Zimmeter) Rouy & EGCamus;
– Potentilla argentea subsp. grandiceps (Zimmeter) O.Schwarz;
– Potentilla argentea var. latisecta F.Saut .;
– Potentilla argentea subsp. latisecta (F.Saut.) J v .;
– Potentilla argentea subsp. macrotome (Borb s);
– Potentilla argentea var. major Rouy & EGCamus;
– Potentilla argentea var. minutes Ser .;
– Potentilla argentea var. perincisa Borb s ex Zimmeter;
– Potentilla argentea subsp. semiloba (Jord. ex Verl.) Berher;
– Potentilla argentea var. septemsecta G. Mey .;
– Potentilla argentea var. tenuiloba (Jordan) AFSchwarz;
– Potentilla argentea subsp. tenuiloba (Jordan) O.Schwarz;
– Potentilla argentea var. vulgaris Rouy & EGCamus;
– Potentilla argyrops Raf .;
– Potentilla baenitzii Borb s;
– Potentilla × besseana Siegfr .;
– Potentilla cinerea Raf. ex Ser .;
– Potentilla confinis Jord .;
– Potentilla decumbens Jord .;
– Potentilla demissa Jord .;
– Potentilla franconica Poeverl .;
– Potentilla grandiceps Zimmeter;
– Potentilla macrotoma Borb s;
– Potentilla megalontodon Lehm .;
– Potentilla minuta (Ser.) Zimmeter;
– Potentilla perincisa (Borb s ex Zimmeter) Zimmeter;
– Potentilla sauteri Zimmeter,;
– Potentilla septemsecta (G. Mey.) Zimmeter;
– Potentilla stenotoma Borb s;
– Potentilla superlata Borb s;
– Potentilla supralata Borb s;
– Potentilla tenuiloba Jord .;
– Potentilla tomentosa Gilib .;
– Potentilla varia var. argentea (L.) Spenn ..

Etymology –
The term Potentilla is the diminutive of potent potens: reference to the medicinal properties of some species of this genus.
The specific silvery epithet comes from silver argentum due to the presence of silvery organs or parts thereof, often referred to the leaf faces.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Potentilla argentea is a perennial herb native to Europe, Asia Minor and Siberia and has been introduced to all temperate areas of North America and New Zealand.
In Italy it is present in many regions but is absent in Sardinia, Umbria, Molise, Basilicata, Calabria and perhaps in Lazio.
Its habitat is that of arid xeric meadows, sunny cliffs, walls, preferably on siliceous (acid) substrate, from 0 to 1200 (rarely over 1900 m) m a.s.l.

Description –
The Potentilla argentea is a perennial herbaceous plant, very polymorphous, 20-30 cm tall, equipped with a robust rhizome; prostrate-ascending stems, woody at the base and often reddened, sparsely pubescent due to simple hairs, white-tomentose at the top.
The leaves of the rosette are ephemeral, generally not present at flowering; the lower ones long petiolate; the upper subsessile. The lamina is webbed-digitate, divided into 5 (3) narrow segments, wedged at the base and deeply incised in the upper half into 2-7 large unequal teeth; the segments are subcoriaceous, revolute at the margin, green and subglabrous in the upper page, in the lower one with dense hairiness close to crinkled cottony hairs (without starry hairs) which give a candid white-tomentose appearance; entire or slightly toothed stipules, strictly triangular (1 x 4 mm).
The inflorescence is in corimbiform multiflore buds with small hermaphroditic flowers (6-12 mm in diameter). The chalice with 5 triangular sepals, conniving in fruiting; epicalice (calyx) with 5 linear-lanceolate segments, alternating with the sepals, ± as long as the sepals. The corolla with 5 yellow petals of 4-7 mm, not covering, slightly fringed, subequal to the calyx or slightly longer. The stamens are 10. The ovary is apocarpic pluricarpal superior. The stylus enlarged at the base, filiform at the top.
The flowers are sulfur yellow and bloom from late spring to summer.
The fruit is a polyacene (acheneto) with ovoid, yellowish and wrinkled achenes.

Cultivation –
The hoary cinquefoil is a plant that grows spontaneously and is easily cultivated in moderately fertile, dry to moderately humid soils, well drained in full sun. Tolerates partial shade and poor soils. Plants grow well in a wide range of soils and have good drought tolerance. Plants have excellent winter hardiness and perform best in cool northern summer climates. Plants tend to naturalize by self-seeding and can often form dense colonies under optimal growing conditions.

Customs and Traditions –
The Potentilla argentea is a plant that is used both as an ornamental, used in ordinary or rocky gardens but used above all once also in the medicinal field.
The generic name from the Latin potens means in fact powerful and is in reference to the known medicinal properties of the plant.
In fact, since ancient times it has been used for its medicinal properties, the active ingredients are found in the rhizomes and are used as astringent, antidiarrheal and healing agents.
Polyphenols isolated from aerial parts have been found in the plant; these substances have been investigated for their cytotoxicity against the human breast cancer cell line (MCF-7) and their ability to bind to DNA.

Preparation Method –
Potentilla argentea is used for medicinal purposes. This plant uses infusions and extracts from rhizomes, from the whole plant or from leaves or flowers alone.
They are used for astringent, antidiarrheal and healing purposes.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.
Photo source:

Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is taken for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.

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