Most cinquefoil lies
along the ground and spreads quickly by its thin
but tough stalks and so is considered a Mercury herb (Agrippa
it in a recipe for Mercury incense), but this cinquefoil stands up
(although it can be floppy) and is much more Venus. Like many Venus
herbs, it is astringent because it is high in tannin and so has a
history of being applied as a poultice to sores and wounds (skin
treatment is an area of Venus activity). Its Venus aspects are borne
out in the fact that it is sometimes
used in love magick, as in dreaming of one's future mate, is connected
to Beltane, Ostara, and especially Midsummer, and in the Victorian
language of flowers stands for
"beloved daughter." When dried, its root has the faint smell of that
most Venus of flowers, the rose. This Venus is the Maiden, obviously.
points of the
leaf and the five petals of the flower indicate the orbit of Venus as
seen from Earth, but they also
represent love, money, health, power, and wisdom. In medieval
magic, cinquefoil was used to drive away devils and help one to resist
poison. When "fingers" are mentioned in old grimoires, this herb is
usually meant. Nowadays it is put into a bath to help with prophetic
dreaming, burned as an incense for divination, stuffed into dream
pillows, and is a component in flying ointment and other astral aides.
Many consider it helpful when added to any herbal combination with a
magical purpose, as it sends out its fingers as an extension of the
witch's hand in the work.
It's a perfect addition to the witch's garden. In Hoodoo, where it is
more well known as five-finger grass, it gives
protection in court cases. It is also the patron herb of fishermen.
Cinquefoil is associated with the sign of Gemini.
particular cinquefoil is a native of Europe and Asia but has
become naturalized throughout North America. This is the wild version
of the plant and has butter yellow flowers. Because this cinquefoil is
not as floppy or
weedy as some, it is easier to fit into the garden and is wonderful in
the cottage garden or in rock gardens. It isn't a showy plant, more of
an herby one. The cheerful flowers appear
spring through early fall and attract beneficial insects like ladybugs.
The little fruits are edible. Cinquefoil is also known as five-finger
grass, five-leaf grass, five fingers, hand of Mary, five-finger
blossom, potentilla,synkefoyle, sunkfield, sulfur cinquefoil, Warren
cinquefoil, rough-fruited cinquefoil, synkefoyle, synkfoule,
weed, bloodroot, cinq feuilles, crampweed, silverweed, goosegrass,
goose tansy, moor grass, and pentaphyllon.
to grow cinquefoil: Barely
cover seeds to germinate in 3-4 weeks at 68F/20C. If it does
not germinate, put in the freezer for 2-4 weeks and then put back in
temperature. Transplant to full sun/partial shade. You can also just
start off with Outdoor Treatment. The clump-forming
perennial is good from zone 3-8 (-40F/C). It gets 15"/40cm high.
100 seeds $3.75
in Witchcraft & Magic:
Medieval Garden Plant
© 2004, 2015
Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission