Category: Rosaceae

  • Common Cinquefoil (Potentilla simplex)

    This plant looks very much like Indian Strawberry until we notice that the leaves apparently have five leaflets rather than three; we say apparently, because Gray tells us that the leaves are “3-foliolate but apparently 5-foliolate by the parting of the lateral leaflets.” The plants spread by wiry little runners; see the picture at the bottom of this article. These plants were blooming in early May in the lawn of the Allegheny Cemetery.

    It is very difficult to distinguish between this species and Dwarf Cinquefoil (Potentilla canadensis), and indeed Gray considers Potentilla simplex a variety of P. canadensis:

    POTENTÍLLA L. CINQUEFOIL. FIVE-FINGER. Calyx flat, deeply .5-cleft, with as many bracilete at the sinuses, thus appearing 10-cleft. Petals 5, usually roundish. Stamens many. Achenes many, collected in a head on the dry mostly pubescent or hairy receptacle; styles lateral or terminal, deciduous. Radicle superior. — Herbs, or rarely shrubs, with compound leaves, and solitary or cymose flowers; their parts rarely in fours. (Name a diminutive from potens, powerful, originally applied to P. Anserina, from its once reputed medicinal powers.)

    Styles filiform, lateral; peduncles axillary, solitary, 1-flowered; achenes glabrous; receptacle very villous; herbaceous perennials, with yellow petals.

    P. canadénsis L. Suberect (2-7 dm. high) or procumbent, at length often rooting at the tip; stem spreading-hirsute, flowering from the node above the second well-developed internode; leaves 3-foliolate but apparently 5-foliolate by the parting of the lateral leaflets; leaflets commonly more oblong, serrate rather than dentate, obscurely villous or entirely glabrate above, canescent-silky to green and merely appressed-villous on the veins beneath. — Dry sandy soil, s. Me. to Vt., along the Great Lakes to Minn., Kan., and southw. May-July.

    Var. símplex (Michx.) T. & G. Stem covered with shorter appressed or sub-appressed hairs or glabrate; leaflets (apt to be oblanceolate) rather shortly appressed-villous on the veins beneath. (P. simplex Michx.) — Chiefly In dry sandy soil, very common; N. S., southw. and westw.

  • Crabapple (Malus coronaria)

    Crabapple trees especially like the edge of the woods; this one was growing in Frick Park, where it was blooming at the end of April. The flowers vary from white through pink, the buds being much darker than the flowers.

    Gray places the genus Malus as a section in the larger genus Pyrus, but most modern botanists treat Malus separately. Gray’s description:

    PYRUS [Tourn.] L. Calyx-like receptacle urn-shaped, bearing б sepals. Petals roundish or obovate. Stamens numerous. Styles 2-5. Fruit a large fleshy pome, or smaller and berry-like, the 2-6 cells imbedded in the flesh, papery or cartilaginous, mostly 2-seeded. —Trees or shrubs, with showy flowers in corymbed or umbellike cymes. (The classical name of the Pear-tree.) A large genus, often subdivided, but with sections less strongly or constantly marked than our few species would suggest.

    MALUS (Hill) S. F. Gray. (APPLE.) Leaves simple; orifice of concave receptacle open; flesh of large subglobular fruit copious, free from sclerotic cells. Malus [Tourn.] Hill.

    Leaves and usually the outer surface of the calyx-lobes glabrate.

    Calyx-lobes persistent in fruit.

    P. coronaria L. (AMERICAN CRAB.) Tree, somewhat armed, 6-10 m. high; leaves ovate or elliptic, usually rounded or even cordate at the base; those of the sterile shoots somewhat triangular-ovate and lobed, sharply serrate; petals broadly obovate, white or nearly so; pome greenish-yellow, hard and sour, 2-2.6 cm. in diameter, depressed-globose. (Malus Mill.) — Thickets and open woods, N. J. to Ont., Kan., and southw.

  • Soft Agrimony (Agrimonia pubescens)

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    Agrimonies are notoriously difficult to sort out, so we would welcome a correction if this identification is wrong.

    These delicate racemes of yellow flowers appear in the open woods, and you are likely to miss them if you are not looking for them. The plants in these pictures were blooming in North Park in early August.

    Older references usually list this as Agrimonia mollis, a synonym. Gray describes the genus and the species:

    AGRIMONIA [Tourn.] L. AGRIMONY. Calyx-tube top-shaped or hemispherical, the throat beset with hooked bristles, indurated in fruit and inclosing 2 achenes; the limb 5-cleft, closed after flowering. Petals 5, yellow. Stamens 5-15. Styles terminal. — Perennial herbs, with interruptedly pinnate leaves, crenate-serrate leaflets, and small spicate-racemose flowers. Bracts 3-cleft. (Name a corruption of Argemone.)

    Fruiting calyx more or less top-shaped, deeply furrowed.

    Leaflets (exclusive of the little intermediate ones) chiefly 5-0, ovate to obovate or elllptic-oblong.

    Rhachis appressed-vlllous or glandular-puberulent, without long widely spreading hairs.

    Boots fusiform-thickened toward the end; lower surface of leaflets velvety-tomentose, scarcely or not at all resinous-dotted.

    Larger leaflets 5-9, oblong or elliptical; fruiting calyx 4-5 mm. wide (exclusive of spreading hooks).

    A. mollis (T. & G.) Britton. Grayish-pubescent, 6-15 dm. high; leaflets oblong, mostly obtuse, soft to the touch on both surfaces; fruit broadly top-shaped, the hooks borne on a broad disk, the outer widely spreading. (A. pubescens Wallr.?) — Open woods, dry ground, etc., Mass. to N. C, and westw.

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  • Silvery Cinquefoil (Potentilla argentea)

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    Originally from Europe, this little flower joins the herds of little five-petaled flowers in our fields. This plant was growing in a grassy area in Highland Park, where it was blooming in the middle of June.

    Gray describes the genus (which is large and varied) and the species:

    POTENTÍLLA L. CINQEFOIL. FIVE-FINGER. Calyx flat, deeply 5-cleft, with as many bractlets at the sinuses, thus appearing 10-cleft. Petals 5, usually roundish. Stamens many. Achenes many, collected in a head on the dry mostly pubescent or hairy receptacle; styles lateral or terminal, deciduous. Radicle superior. — Herbs, or rarely shrubs, with compound leaves, and solitary or cymose flowers; their parts rarely in fours. (Name a diminutive from potens, powerful, originally applied to P. Anserina, from its once reputed medicinal powers.)

    Styles filiform, not glandular at base; inflorescence cymose.

    Style terminal; achenes glabrous; stamens 20; herbaceous perennials, with rather large yellow petals.

    Leaves palmate.

    Flowers in loose leafy cymes.

    P. argéntea L. (SILVERY C.) Stems ascending or depressed, 1-5 dm. long, paniculately branched at the summit, many-flowered, white-woolly; leaf lets 5, wedge-oblong, almost pinnatifid, entire toward the base, with revolute margins, green above, white with silvery wool beneath; calyx white-tomentose. — Dry barren fields, etc., N. S. to Dak. and southw. to D. C. June- Sept. (Eu.)

  • Crabapple (Malus coronaria)

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    Crabapple blossoms light up the woods around here before the leaves appear on most of the trees. These trees were blooming in late April near the edge of the woods in Mount Lebanon. More Crabapple pictures are here.

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    Gray places the genus Malus as a section in the larger genus Pyrus, but most modern botanists treat Malus separately. Gray’s description:

    PYRUS [Tourn.] L. Calyx-like receptacle urn-shaped, bearing б sepals. Petals roundish or obovate. Stamens numerous. Styles 2-5. Fruit a large fleshy pome, or smaller and berry-like, the 2-6 cells imbedded in the flesh, papery or cartilaginous, mostly 2-seeded. —Trees or shrubs, with showy flowers in corymbed or umbellike cymes. (The classical name of the Pear-tree.) A large genus, often subdivided, but with sections less strongly or constantly marked than our few species would suggest.

    MALUS (Hill) S. F. Gray. (APPLE.) Leaves simple; orifice of concave receptacle open; flesh of large subglobular fruit copious, free from sclerotic cells. Malus [Tourn.] Hill.

    Leaves and usually the outer surface of the calyx-lobes glabrate.

    Calyx-lobes persistent in fruit.

    P. coronaria L. (AMERICAN CRAB.) Tree, somewhat armed, 6-10 m. high; leaves ovate or elliptic, usually rounded or even cordate at the base; those of the sterile shoots somewhat triangular-ovate and lobed, sharply serrate; petals broadly obovate, white or nearly so; pome greenish-yellow, hard and sour, 2-2.6 cm. in diameter, depressed-globose. (Malus Mill.) — Thickets and open woods, N. J. to Ont., Kan., and southw.