Information on Marsh Cinquefoil

Common Name: Marsh Cinquefoil
Scientific Name: Comarum palustre
Irish Name: Cnó léana
Family Group: Rosaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Marsh Cinquefoil is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


Flower of marshes, bogs and wet meadows, Marsh Cinquefoil is a perennial which reaches about 35cm high.  Blooming from May to July, it has erect star-shaped maroon flowers (20-25mm across) borne in a loose terminal cluster. These are comprised of the calyx of 5 large, maroon sepals within which are 5 small petals, about half the length of the sepals. The backs of the sepals are covered in down.  The pretty leaves are pinnately divided into 3 or 5 leaflets which are coarsely toothed.  The plant often has a reddish tinge all over and is a good source of nectar for visiting bees and flies. This wildflower has creeping rhizomes which grow horizontally under the surface of the ground.  It is a native plant and belongs to the family Rosaceae.  

My first record of this plant was in Newcastle, Co Wicklow in 1978 and I photographed it at Fenor Bog Nature Reserve, Co Waterford in 2009.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Cinquefoil, Marsh
Cinquefoil, Marsh

Known as Swamp Cinquefoil in North America, this is the only potentilla to have maroon flowers as this genus usually has yellow flowers.  The name 'Cinquefoil' is from the French for 'five leaves' as many of this species have leaves divided into five leaflets.  In the Isle of Man, it is known as Marsh Strawberry.