Geum canadense Jacq. - White Avens


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Geum canadense - (image 1 of 6)



Family: Rosaceae


Woodlands, particularly ones that have been disturbed. Wooded floodplains.




In the U.S. from New England west to the Dakotas, south GA to TX.


Herbaceous perennial; basal leaves pinnate compound; cauline leaves mostly simple, 3-cleft or ternate with the terminal lobe occasionally three-cleft; leaflets acute, stipules up to 2 cm; flowers white, petals 5, stamens numerous; calyx green, the lobes reflexed, lower portion of the styles glabrous; stems and peduncles short-pubescent to glabrous or glabrate; peduncles slender; fruit an achene, fewer than 100 per head.


Flowers late May to late September

Wetland indicator: FAC

A common plant of woodlands. The achenes bear little hooks that allow them to attach to fur or clothing, aiding in seed dispersal. The foliage is sometimes attractive in the spring, resembling Japanese painted fern in coloration.

This species readily hybridizes with the introduced G. urbanum L. The hybrid, G. catlingii J.-P. Bernard & R., has large stipules like G. urbanum but otherwise the characteristics of G. canadense except for pale yellow rather than white flowers. It is often sterile but occasional plants have been found with seemingly fertile achenes suggesting possible back crossing.

Geum canadense (left), G. catlingii (middle), and G. urbanum (right)


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.




 Michael Hough 2005