Five-finger Grass and Ironweed
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Anton Forde
Posted on: February 8, 2002

What is fivefinger grass and iron weed and do you have a diagram of the two?

Five-finger grass is one of several names for herbs known botanically as Potentilla spp. We carry cinquefoil, Potentilla recta, which is a tannin-rich perennial herb used to treat diarrhea, to soothe burns, and to stop nosebleeds and internal bleeding. Other Potentilla species known as five-finger grass include Potentilla reptans, P. canadensis, P. arguta, P. simplex and others. All have similar properties and have a long history of use going back to the native American Indians.

Here is an image of P. recta from the Missiouri Botanic Garden website (

Ironweed is another native American perennial, found in rich woods in the eastern North America. The botanical name is Vernonia glauca and it was used as a "blood tonic" and to regulate menstruation, and to control bleeding and pain after childbirth. Other Vernonia species have similar uses.

From the Missiouri Botanic Garden website here is a picture of the related species, V. missurica:

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