It usually grows as ground cover, but can grow up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall. To reproduce, it sends out long above-ground runners, that take root where the tips of them touch the ground. Its leaves appear lighter on their undersides, owing to minute white hairs. From May to September, it blossoms with one flower per stalk. Each flower is yellow and small (1 inch / 2 1/2 cm wide) with 5 petals.
The roots used to be used as food. The plant would grow in fields over the winter. Spring ploughing would turn it up, both removing it from the fields, and exposing the roots for harvest. The very long roots are hard to pull out otherwise, as they are strong enough to be used as bindings and rope.
When roasted, the roots taste a bit like woody parsnips. Their taste was considered less good at other times of the year.
Native to North America, Asia and Europe.
In parts of Scotland, Silverweed Cinquefoil’s growth was encouraged. Its cultivation stopped with the advent of the potato.
Literature & Lore
The roots were said to also be popular with faeries.