Silverweed

Silverweed leaves (Potentilla anserina)
Silverweed is a creeping, trailing plant commonly found in grassland and roadside verges, with pretty silvery foliage and bright yellow flowers.

Table of Contents

Silverweed: Plant profile

Common names

Silverweed, Silver Weed, Common Silverweed, Cinquefoil, Briosclán

Botanical name

Potentilla anserina (syn Argentina anserina)

Plant family

Rosaceae

Distribution

Native throughout the temperate Northern Hemisphere. Very common throughout the UK and Ireland.

Where to find Silverweed

Grassland, wasteland, meadows and riverside.

When to find Silverweed

Roots in late summer and autumn. Leaves spring to autumn.

How to identify Silverweed

Silverweed is a perennial creeping, trailing plant growing up to 30cm in height. The leaves are compound, with many oblong, serrated leaflets. They are wooly and silvery-green in colour. The flower is yellow, have five petals and grows on a leafless stalk between June and September.

Silverweed lookalikes

It could be confused with other related plants Potentilla sp. such as Creeping Cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans).

Silverweed in flower (Potentilla anserina)

All about Silverweed

The leaves are what give rise to this plant’s name, which are a distinctive silver-green on the topside and coated of silvery grey fine hairs on the underside. This makes silverweed unique and easy to find amongst the grasses.

Medicinal properties of Silverweed

The entire plant is antispasmodic, mildly astringent, diuretic, and haemostatic.

It’s said the leaves can be placed in shoes to absorb excess sweat because the starch content helps absorbing moisture.

Culinary uses and recipes with Silverweed

All parts of silverweed are edible, though the flavour and texture of the leaves is not particularly attractive. They still can be tossed into salads or made into an herbal tea.

It’s the roots that are of main interest due to its starch content. However they have been long considered famine food because they are fiddly to collect, so small to use and hard to clean. They can be dried and ground into a powder to use in soups and stews.

The flavour is good, crisp and nutty with a pleasant starchy flavour, similar to Jerusalem artichokes. Apparently, at some point the roots were boiled or baked, sometimes dried and ground into flour to make bread.

Silverweed leaves (Potentilla anserina)

Safe foraging of Silverweed

Some sources cite possible stomach irritation in certain individuals.

Ecological importance of Silverweed

The flowers provide a nectar source for bees, particularly the honeybee.

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Alvaro Docio

Alvaro Docio

I am the person behind British Local Food. As a forager and wild food educator, my aim is to inspire you to go outdoors, familiarise with your local plants and make the best of their culinary and medicinal properties, in the hope you'd pass on any knowledge gained down to the next generation.

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2 thoughts on “Silverweed”

  1. thanks for this informative website. Researching Silverweed for an Art tutorial… I like to give little details especially foraging, during the class.

    thank you :O)

    Reply

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