Tormentil ©Chris Lawrence


Scientific name: Potentilla erecta
Tormentil can be found growing on acid grassland, heathland and moorland, but even pops up alongside roads. It bears yellow, buttercup-like flowers, but with only four petals (buttercups have five).

Species information


Height: up to 30cm

Conservation status


When to see

May to September


Tormentil is a common, low-growing and creeping perennial of acid grassland, heathland and moorland, but can also be found on roadside verges. Its four-petalled, yellow flowers appear May to September and provide nectar for solitary bees.

How to identify

A low-growing, downy plant, Tormentil has yellow flowers with four petals, and glossy, deeply toothed leaves with three lobes and silvery undersides.



Did you know?

Tormentil was traditionally used to treat colic, gum disorders, wounds and inflammation. It was also used as a toothpaste and even to make a type of schnapps!

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts are working to restore and protect our heathlands by promoting good management, clearing encroaching scrub and implementing beneficial grazing regimes. This work is vital if these habitats are to survive; you can help by supporting your local Wildlife Trust and becoming a member or volunteer.