MARSH CINQUEFOIL : Potentilla palustris
This striking flower is a bit of a surprise, found here amongst the horsetail, yellow flag iris and such like, in the marsh of the RSPB Loch Lomond. But it is quite common across the west and north of Britain.
Our example of marsh cinquefoil has already lost some of its strong colour, but it can be identified by its magenta, star-shaped flowers (the red 'petals' are actually sepals) and the pinkish tinge to its green parts. Its leaves are divided into five long lobes with toothed margins.
The geometry of the flower changes as it unfurls from inverted bell forms into to a star and then folding back.
Marsh cinquefoil likes wet, boggy places, fens and peaty meadows. When it is in flower, between May and July, it is a good source of food for nectar-loving insects, such as bees and hoverflies. Marsh cinquefoil is one of a number of cinquefoils, but is unique in the UK as the only one with deep magenta flowers - the rest have yellow flowers. It is a member of the rose family.