Geum vernum (Raf.) T.&G. - Spring Avens

Geum vernum plant

Family - Rosaceae

Stems - Multiple from base, spreading to ascending or erect, herbaceous, to +45cm long, villous, branching near apex.

Geum vernum stem

Leaves - Alternate. Basal leaves toothed, typically unlobed but also 3 to 5-lobed, crenate-serrate, petiolate, to +25cm long. Lower cauline leaves pinnately divided, serrate, pubescent above, pubescent typically on veins below. Upper cauline leaves typically 3-lobed (lobes often divided further), serrate, ciliate-margined, glabrous to sparse pubescent above, pubescent on veins below, dull green above, silvery-green below. Stipules at base of petioles serrate, with same pubescence as leaf blade.

Geum vernum stipuleLeaf stipule.

Geum vernum leavesUpper and lower cauline leaves.

Inflorescence - Loose cymes terminating stems. Peduncles and pedicels with sparse villous pubescence mostly near base or glabrous.

Flowers - Petals yellow to yellow-orange, 5, to 3mm long, clawed, glabrous. Hypanthium campanulate, 2-3mm broad, 1.5mm tall (long), glabrous. Stamens +20, borne at edge of hypanthium, persistent in fruit. Filaments to 1mm long. Anthers yellow, .6mm in diameter. Sepals 5, acute to acuminate, 2mm long in flower, ciliate-margined, sharply recurved, persisting and elongating below fruit. Ovary stalked. Stalk elongating in fruit. Achenes glandular pubescent, beaked with persistent styles and stigmas.

Geum vernum sepalsSepals.

Geum vernum flowerFlower close-up.

Geum vernum fruitsFruits.

Flowering - April - June.

Habitat - Moist ground, thicket edges, waste ground.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This is a common little plant which can bloom fairly early in the season. The growth habits can be variable from erect to nearly prostrate. The flowers are very small, as you can see from the pics, and it is common for the petals to be fewer than 5. The achenes have a "hinged" barb which is the persistent style and stigma. The basal leaves are often missing or dying off by the time the plant is in heavy flower.

Photographs taken at the Kansas City Zoo, 5-29-00, and at Danville Conservation Area, Montgomery County, MO., 4-17-04.


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