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Report an Invasive Species

Sulphur Cinquefoil

Sulphur Cinquefoil

Sulphur Cinquefoil

(Potentilla recta)

Priority: -  Control

Tags: Agricultural | Terrestrial

Identification and Reproduction


  • Sulphur cinquefoil is a perennial herb that grows from a woody taproot. 
  • Stems are erect and can reach up to 80 cm tall. The upper portion of the stem is branched and covered in hairs. 
  • Leaves are arranged alternately and attach to the stem on stalks. Leaves are palmate and divided into 6 or 7 individual leaflets. Each leaflet has toothed edges. Leaves decrease in size moving up the stem. 


  • Flowers will be found at the end of stems. Flowers are yellow and composed of 5 heart-shaped petals and 5 hairy green sepals. 


  • Reproduces by seed and vegetatively. 
  • Seeds can remain viable for up to 3 years. 
  • A single plant can produce over 1,600 seeds in a growing season. 
  • New shoots will emerge and spread from the woody root crown. 

Habitat & Ecology

  • Prefers partial to full sun exposure. 
  • Invades rocky or low-nutrient soils. 
  • Commonly found on pastures, fields, vacant lots, roadsides, railroads and other disturbed sites. 



  • Has an unpleasant taste to livestock. 
  • Its presence on pastures will decrease forage opportunities for grazers. 


  • Decreases plant biodiverstiy. 
  • Will disrupt natural food web by decreasing forage for wildlife. 


Mechanical Control: 

  • Hand pulling can be effective on small infestations. Ensure that at least the first few inches of the root system is removed. 
  • Pulling and digging should be completed prior to seed set. 
  • Refrain from mowing plants as this will encourage growth and spread plant parts that will reestablish. 
  • Cultivation of the soil and then reseeding with grass species has been successful for larger populations. 

Chemical Control:

  • Herbicide treatments should be applied during the growing seasons; spring and early summer. 
  • Currently picloram, 2,4-D and aminopyralid are registered for use on sulphur cinquefoil. 
  • Please carefully read herbicide labels prior to application. 


Download A Guide to Weeds in British Columbia for Sulphur Cinquefoil here.

Header photo (Matt Lavin).