Cinquefoil (Potentilla tanacetifolia)

Dmitry Poltavsky - Potentilla tanacetifolia

Potentilla is a genus containing over 300 species of annual, biennial and perennial herbaceous flowering plants in the rose family, Rosaceae. They are usually called cinquefoils in English. Cinquefoil means Five-leaved, from the French Cinq feuilles (five leaves) and ultimately the Latin Quinquefolium. Potentilla are generally only found throughout the northern continents of the world (holarctic). Typical cinquefoils look most similar to strawberries, but differ in usually having dry, inedible fruit (hence the name Barren strawberry for some species). The flowers are usually yellow. In heraldry, the cinquefoil emblem signified strength, power, honor, and loyalty. Depiction of the five-petalled flower appears as early as 1033, in the architecture of the church built in the village of Reulle-Vergy in Burgundy, France, two years before the reign of William the Conqueror. The cinquefoil emblem was used generously in the architecture of numerous churches built in Normandy and Brittany through the 15th century.