Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council Plants Resource Page

Plant of the Month - Sticky Cinquefoil

Soap Plant

Sticky Cinquefoil

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Plant Description

Common Name(s):Sticky Cinquefoil
Scientific Name:Drymocallis glandulosa
Family:Rosaceae
Plant Type:Perennial
Size:1 to 3 feet
Habitat:Oak Woodland
Blooms:April to July

A member of the family Rosaceae (the Rose family - other members include wild strawberry, blackberry and wild rose), Sticky Cinquefoil is a one to two foot tall perennial with creamy, yellow flowers. The flower has five hairy sepals, 5 petals and 25 stamens. It has soft leaflets that are 1-3 cm long and obovate or oblong-obovate in shape with single- or double-toothed margins. The stem leaves are much smaller and reduced in size upward on the flowering stems. Red stems are common.

This is plant has a highly variable appearance. The flowers can be few to dense in a cyme like array - that means they grow on separate stalks and mature from the center outward. It is found along the coast of California and in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. This plant is considered a fire follower i.e. known to germinate from burned and heated soil - it is quite adaptable to its environment. The plant can sprout from seed or the caudex (root stock) I saw these flowers along the Backbone Trail in Solstice Canyon and again in the Eastern Sierra above Mammoth Lakes.

A leafy plant with several stems, often reddish and sticky with minute, glandular hairs, topped by white flowers in loose branched clusters.

This attractive wildflower is very common in the West and generally referred to as simply cinquefoil, a name ultimately deriving from Latin through French, meaning five leaves; some species have leaves with five leaflets.

Name Origin:Drymocal'lis: from the Greek drymos, "a forest, oakwood, coppice," and kallos, "beauty," hence a woodland beauty, from which comes the new Jepson common name of woodbeauty. Found on CalFlora.net a wonderful site for native plant information. Interestingly enough the Chumash peoples probably did not make use of the medicinal values of this plant - Chumash Ethnobotany by Jan Timbrook.

Other Similar Plants:
Toyon Heteromeles arbutifolia
Holly-Leaved Cherry Prunus ilicifolia
Red Shank Adenostoma sparsifolium
Chamise Adenostoma fasciculatum
Wild Rose Rosa californica

Originally featured: November 2014
Last modified: April 01 2017 04:33:58.
References:
Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains, by Milt McAuley
Flowering Plants: The Santa Monica Mountains, Coastal and Chaparral Regions of Southern California, by Nancy Dale
Images Botanical Terms for Leaves