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Common Silverweed
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Rosoideae
Genus: Argentina
Species: A. anserina
Binomial name
Argentina anserina
(L.) Rydb.

Potentilla anserina

Argentina anserina, called known as Common Silverweed, Silverweed Cinquefoil or just "silverweed", is a flowering perennial plant in the rose family Rosaceae. It is native throughout the temperate Northern Hemisphere, often on river shores and in grassy habitats such as meadows and road-sides. The plant was formerly classified in the genus Potentilla but was reclassified into the resurrected genus Argentina by research in the 1990s.[1]


Habitat and characteristics

Silverweed leaves are covered in fine silvery hairs that give the plant its name

Silverweed is a low-growing herbaceous plant with creeping red stolons that can be up to 80 cm long. The leaves are 10-20 cm long, evenly pinnate into in crenate leaflets 2-5 cm long and 1-2 cm broad, covered with silky white hairs, particularly on the underside. These hairs are also present on the stem and the stolons. These give the leaves the silvery appearance from which the plant gets its name.

The flowers are produced singly on 5-15 cm long stems, 1.5-2.5 cm diameter with five (rarely up to seven) yellow petals. The fruit is a cluster of dry achenes.

It is difficult to distinguish A. anserina from A. egedii (the only other species in the genus), the two taxa only differing in characters of the hairs; some botanists treat A. egedii as a subspecies of A. anserina.

Silverweed is most often found in sandy or gravelly soils, where it may spread rapidly by its prolific rooting stolons. It typically occurs in inland habitats, unlike A. egedii, which is a salt-tolerant coastal salt marsh plant.

Cultivation and uses

Herbal tea from the underground roots is used to help delivery, and as antispasmodic for diarrhea. The plant was also put in shoes to absorb sweat. Howard (1987) states that it was formerly used as a treatment for epilepsy, and that it could ward off witches and evil spirits.[2]

The plant has been cultivated as a food crop for its edible roots. The usual wild forms, however, are impractical for this use, as they are small and are hard to clean. It may also become a problem weed in gardens.

Etymology and folklore

The pre-Linnaean name anserina means "of the goose" (Anser), either because the plant was used to feed them or because the leaves reminded of the bird's footmarks.

A rich folklore has developed around Silverweed. The plant bears the common name of richette in French, being rich through both silver and gold.


  1. ^ Potentilla
  2. ^ Howard, Michael. Traditional Folk Remedies (Century, 1987), p.121.
  • Lamoureux, G. et al. (1983). Plante sauvage des villes, desa champs et en bordure des chemins. Fleurbec. ISBN 2-920174-07-X.  


Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Potentilla anserina article)

From Wikispecies

Potentilla anserina


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Rosales
Familia: Rosaceae
Subfamilia: Rosoideae
Tribus: Potentilleae
Subtribus: Potentillinae
Genus: Potentilla
Species: Potentilla anserina
Subspecies: P. a. subsp. anserina - P. a. subsp.  groenlandica - P. a. subsp. pacifica


Potentilla anserina L.


  • Argentina anserina (L.) Rydb.


  • Species Plantarum 1:495, 1753.
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Data from 28-Oct-07]. 29465

Vernacular names

Česky: Mochna husí
Dansk: Gåse-Potentil
Deutsch: Gänsefingerkraut
English: Silverweed
Español: Anserina
Français: Potentille ansérine
Hornjoserbsce: Husacy porstnik
Nederlands: Zilverschoon
日本語: ヨウシュツルキンバイ
‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Gåsemure
Polski: Pięciornik gęsi
Русский: Лапчатка гусиная
Slovenčina: Nátržník husí
Suomi: Ketohanhikki
Svenska: Gåsört
Українська: Перстач гусячий


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