Sticky Cinquefoil (Potentilla glandulosa)
In the early 2000s, through DNA identification and global research advances, a few of the Cinquefoils, including this common lower elevation meadow flower, were moved from the Potentilla genus to the new Drymocallis genus. To date all three Drymocallis species’ share the trait of being ‘protocarnivorous.’ The sticky glands at the end of the hairs in these cinquefoils trap and kill insects, but, unlike true carnivorous plants we know, such as the other-worldly Pitcher Plant and adorable petite Butterwort, this plant lacks the ability to ‘digest’ protein. This quote from Wikipedia:
“Some authors prefer the term ‘protocarnivorous’ because it implies that these plants are on the evolutionary path to true carnivory, whereas others oppose the term for the same reason.”
‘Cinque’ is Italian for five, as in the 5 cream to gold petals plus alternating 5 same-size green sepals that make up the cup-like calyx that surrounds 20 or more pronounced pollen-carrying stamens.
It’s three toothed leaflets resemble strawberries, a fellow-Rose family plant. Easily confused with the (also protocarnivorous) Tall Cinquefoil (D. arguta), whose leaflets are ‘palmately’ grouped in fives, but more easily distinguished from the Shrubby (P. fruitcosa) and Fan-leafed Cinquefoil (P. flabellifolia), which both have very different leaves and lack the sticky stems.