Marsh cinquefoil, now quite a rare plant in the British Isles, grows mainly in peaty marshesand fens and in the shallow margins of upland lakes. From June until late August its flowers are a great source of nectar for bees. Other members of the Potentilla genus have yellow flowers, but marsh cinquefoil is unique in having lovely deep red or purple flowers. The various cinquefoils all belong to the rose family, Rosaceae.
In the past the roots of this plant were used to dye leather a reddish-yellow colour. The leaves are reputed to be good for making tea, and in the past a red dye was produced from the flowers; however, their rarity today makes such an option not merely difficult but ecologically unforgiveable.