Ruskin's Botanical Drawings

John Ruskin, Flower Study, RF1280 © Ruskin Foundation

Ruskin, John (1819-1900)

Flower Study: Tormentil
4 7/10 X 3 8/10 in.
Pencil and Ink

RF 1280


This appears to be a single flower of Tormentil (Potentilla erecta (L.) Rauschel; Rose family – Rosaceae), a creeping , rather downy, perennial inhabitant of grassy habitats on a wide range of soils. The leaves are compound, usually trifoliate, with toothed edges to the leaflets. The lovely flowers, borne in loose clusters, occur throughout the summer, are approx. 7 to 10 mm diameter, and characteristically have four golden-yellow, indented petals, orange at the base, alternating with four green, pointed sepals (the calyx), as depicted here, with four further, smaller sepals (the epicalyx), coinciding with and hidden by, the petals (see RF 1281). At the centre of the flower are numerous stamens surrounding a group of small fruits (achenes).

This entry was researched and written by Professor David Ingram.