Tormentil Potentilla erecta

‘The short hill grass, the mushrooms small milk-white, Harebell and scabious and tormentil.’-    Edward Thomas, "October"

Description

Commonly found scrambling through upland and heathy grassland, its bright yellow flowers are a favourite of bees and butterflies.

How to spot it

A creeping, prostrate plant, tormentil has right yellow four-petalled flowers, borne on long stalks. The leaves are deeply cut, shiny green and mostly made up of three narrow leaflets and are unstalked.

Where it grows

Found in a variety of habitats from upland grassland, heaths and moors to meadows and hedge banks.

Best time to see

In flower from May to October.

How's it doing?

Common throughout most of the British Isles, its numbers remain stable, other than in South-east England where a decline has taken place.

3 things you might not know

  • The roots yield a red dye, which is still used as an ingredient in the manufacture of artists’ colours.  
  • Tormentil has been widely used in folk medicine and is still used as a remedy for diarrhoea and, in the form of a lotion, as a treatment for ulcers and sores.
  • It is a rich source of nectar, and attracts pollinator insects from far and wide.