Geum canadense Jacq. - White Avens

Geum canadense plant

Family - Rosaceae

Stems - To 75cm tall, multiple from base, erect, herbaceous, typically simple, densely pubescent with distinct short and long hairs, from small caudex and rhizomes.

Geum canadense stem

Leaves - Alternate, petiolate, stipulate, serrate, pubescent below, sparse appressed pubescent above. Stipules foliaceous, lobed, serrate to entire, pubescent, to 2cm long, +1cm broad. Petioles long on basal leaves, reduced above(to -1cm long), pubescent. Lower cauline leaves typically trifoliolate. Lateral leaflets oblique at base, sessile, acute. Central leaflet sessile, acute. Upper leaves lobed to simple.

Geum canadense leaves

Inflorescence - Flowers solitary or few in a loose cymose cluster. Axillary and terminal. Pedicels to 5cm long, sericeous.

Flowers - To 1.5cm broad. Petals 5, white, distinct, glabrous, to 7mm long, +4mm broad, short-clawed. Stamens many, borne at edge of hypanthium, spreading. Filaments to 2.5mm long, glabrous, whitish. Anthers yellow, .5mm in diameter. Carpels many. Styles persistent in fruit, elongating to 7mm and with 2mm deciduous portion in fruit. Sepals lance-ovate, acute to acuminate, to 5mm long, 2.5mm broad at base, pubescent externally(with whitish tomentose margins), glabrous internally, spreading to reflexed. Achenes in globose cluster, pubescent(with distinct long and short hairs), green.

Geum canadense sepalsSepals.

Geum canadense flower

Geum canadense fruitsFruits.

Flowering - May - October.

Habitat - Moist wooded areas, wooded slopes, thickets.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This is a very common woodland plant in Missouri. Although it can be considered weedy, I think the flowers are quite nice.
Steyermark lists two varieties for this species. Variety canadense has 30-60 achenes per head, achenes 2.5-3mm long. Upper surface of the cauline leaves mostly glabrous to very sparsely hairy.
Variety camporum has 60-150 achenes per flower head, achenes are 3-5mm long at maturity. Upper surface of cauline leaves with many appressed hairs. This latter variety is more common.

Photographs taken at the Kansas City Zoo, 6-17-99 and 7-10-00, and in the Ozark Scenic Riverways, Shannon County, MO., 6-15-03.


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