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Potentilla rectaPotentilla recta Warrenii
Cinquefoil
Most cinquefoil lies along the ground and spreads quickly by its thin but tough stalks and so is considered a Mercury herb (Agrippa includes 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. The five 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.

Potentilla recta flowerThis 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, witches weed, bloodroot, cinq feuilles, crampweed, silverweed, goosegrass, goose tansy, moor grass, and pentaphyllon.

How 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 room 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.

Potentilla recta
Cinquefoil
100 seeds $3.75


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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Astral Herb
Love Magic
Witch's Garden
Medieval Garden Plant
Hoodoo

2004, 2015 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission