Information on Silverweed

Common Name: Silverweed
Scientific Name: Potentilla anserina
Irish Name: Briosclán
Family Group: Rosaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period

Click for list of all flowering by month
Silverweed could sometimes be confused with:

Cinquefoil, Creeping,

This is a creeping perennial which is abundant throughout Ireland.  It trails its stems across damp, grassy places, rooting regularly.  It has yellow 5-petalled flowers (15-20mm across) which are borne solitarily on long, slender stalks from May to August.  There are no prizes for guessing why Silverweed got its name - just look at the lovely silky, downy leaves which form large patches. They are pinnate, divided into numerous sharply-toothed alternate leaflets with the underside being more silvery than the upper.  This is a native wildflower which belongs to the family Rosaceae.

My first record of this plant is from the Vartry Reservoir in Co Wicklow in 1976 and I photographed it at Tacumshane Lake, Co Wexford in 2008. 

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

Also called Argentina anserina, many of 'Silverweed's' names refer to its leaves.  In French 'Richette' and in Dutch 'Zilverkruid'.  These same leaves were once used as insoles in the shoes of tired walkers to ease their feet.  The plant was once used as food for geese, hence its species name 'anserina' (anser = goose in Latin).  In early times the roots of this plant were cultivated in some of the Scottish islands until potatoes were introduced.  It is said that they taste somewhat like parsnips.  The dried roots were also ground and used like flour in bread-making.