Potentilla anserina - L.
Common Name Silverweed
Family Rosaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards Possible stomach irritation.
Habitats Ditches and moist calcareous soils[7]. A common weed of cultivation[1].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Iceland south and east to Iran, the Himalayas, Manchuria, Japan.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

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Potentilla anserina Silverweed

Potentilla anserina Silverweed
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Potentilla anserina is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, self.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Argentina anserina. Dactylophyllum anserinam. Fragaria anserina.

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Lawn; Meadow; Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Root - raw or cooked[66, 74, 183]. It can also be dried and ground into a powder then used in soups etc or mixed with cereals[5, 12, 13, 54]. A nice taste, crisp and nutty with a somewhat starchy flavour[85, 183]. The roots are rather thin, though perhaps their size cold be improved in cultivation[K]. Edible young shoots - raw[74]. A tea is made from the leaves.
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Analgesic;  Antidiarrhoeal;  Antispasmodic;  Astringent;  Diuretic;  Foot care;  Haemostatic;  Odontalgic;  

Contemporary medical herbalists believe that silverweed's main medicinal value lies in its astringency. It is less astringent than the related P. erecta, but it has a gentler action within the gastro-intestinal tract[254]. The whole plant is antispasmodic, mildly astringent, diuretic, foot care, haemostatic, odontalgic and tonic[4, 7, 9, 21]. A strong infusion is used to check the bleeding of piles and to treat diarrhoea, it is also used as a gargle for sore throats[4]. Externally, it is used as a powder to treat ulcers and haemorrhoids whilst the whole bruised plant, placed over a painful area, will act as a local analgesic[7, 254]. The roots are the most astringent part of the plant[4], they are harvested in late summer or autumn and dried for later use[254]. The leaves are harvested in early summer and dried for later use[4]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Potentilla anserina Silverweed for diarrhoea, inflammation of the mouth and pharynx, premenstrual syndrome (see [302] for critics of commission E).


Other Uses
Cleanser;  Tannin.

A sprig placed in the shoe can help prevent blisters[66]. An infusion of the leaves makes an excellent skin cleansing lotion[66], it is also used cosmetically as a soothing lotion for reddened skin and for the delicate skins of babies[7]. All parts of the plant contain tannin, though the report does not give quantities[4].
Cultivation details
A very easily grown plant, succeeding in almost any soil, thriving in moist clays, though rather dwarfed in dry dusty soils[4]. It grows best in a well-drained loam, preferring a position in full sun but tolerating shade[1]. Prefers an alkaline soil but tolerates a slightly acid soil[200]. Silverweed was formerly cultivated for its edible root[5, 67]. It is still possibly cultivated in parts of Scotland (1992)[183]. This plant spreads vigorously by its running roots and can be very invasive[1, 4]. It grows well in a meadow, or places where the grass is only cut occasionally[K]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].
Seed - sow early spring or autumn in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division in spring. Division is also very easy at almost any time the plant is in growth. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Potentilla bicolor 10
Potentilla chinensisChinese Cinquefoil11
Potentilla cryptotaeniae 01
Potentilla discolor 21
Potentilla egedeiPacific Silverweed21
Potentilla erectaTormentil, Erect cinquefoil13
Potentilla fragarioides 11
Potentilla fruticosaShrubby Cinquefoil, Potentilla11
Potentilla glandulosaGland Cinquefoil, Sticky cinquefoil, Arizona cinquefoil, Ashland cinquefoil, Ewan's cinquefoil, Hans11
Potentilla hippianaWoolly Cinquefoil01
Potentilla kleiniana 11
Potentilla multifida 20
Potentilla nepalensisNepal Cinquefoil, Cinquefoil21
Potentilla norvegicaNorwegian Cinquefoil01
Potentilla palustrisMarsh Cinquefoil11
Potentilla rectaRough-Fruited Cinquefoil, Erect cinquefoil21
Potentilla reptansCinquefoil, Creeping cinquefoil12
Potentilla rupestrisRock Cinquefoil10
Potentilla simplexOld Field Cinquefoil, Common cinquefoil01
Potentilla supina 11


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Readers comment
Michael Bouckley   Mon Jul 28 14:17:33 2003
Silver Weed aka Hedge Backy can be smoked, can help giving up tobacco, and or can be smoked with other "herbals" like cannabis.
glenn sinclair   Mon Oct 4 22:18:49 2004
This plant is mild,colsely related to P.recta although sulphur cinquefoil is probably the original hemp plant,it can be seen in the latin name database your typical street cannabis is just a mere cross between male nettle pollin and a female unpollinated potentilla recta plant.
Debrah   Tue May 29 2007
This plant is extremely invasive. A ornamental red flowering creeping potentilla was originally planted as a ground cover in a cultivated bed. Apparently that ground cover was a hybrid, and it's seeds sprouted and were a throwback to anserina (has this been encountered by anyone before?) The original ground cover died and anserina quickly spread by runners and seed up to 50 feet away in just two seasons. It has invaded healthy and maintained lawn as well. (Location: Denver Colorado)
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Subject : Potentilla anserina  

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