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White Avens, Canada Avens - Geum canadense


Family: Rosaceae - Rose family Genus Common Name: Avens Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Herb
Geum canadense - White Avens, Canada Avens. Geum canadense - White Avens - is one of the most widely distributed of the Avens, being found in every state in the eastern 2 / 3 of the United States except for Florida, as well as most of eastern Canada. Florida and Hawaii are the only states without a Geum species. Some authorities - and this seems to be the trending direction - include what were formerly classified in the Waldsteinia genus (Barren Strawberry) within Geum, increasing the number of Geum species by four. While this is a member of the Rose family (Rosaceae,) I found it to be similar enough to some Buttercups (Ranununculus) that I spent a lot of time looking for white-petaled Ranunculaceae plants until Twitter friend @desmoinesdem posted a photo of a plant she was trying to identify - same as mine. That photo can be found here: Bleeding Heartland. Fortunately for us, @Lynzey515 identified it for us as White Avens.

Found in:
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, WY

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Geum canadense

Distribution of Geum canadense in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 25 Jun 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2013-June-27Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
Being a member of Rosaceae, White Avens has 5 petals. While many members of Geum have petals with yellow, greenish, cream, lavender, maroon, or purple, Geum canadense is one of a few (G. virginianum and G. laciniatum in the range) having white petals (I have seen a report that sometimes the petals of G. canadense can be tinged pink.) Both of those other species have smaller petals.
Geum canadense

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2013-June-27Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Geum canadense has five sepals, usually reflexed. The petals of Geum laciniatum (Rough Avens) are shorter than the sepals, while the petals of Geum canadense are as long or longer than the sepals. The flower stems (pedicels) are glabrous to slightly puberulent in Geum canadense; they have spreading hairs in Geum laciniatum.
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Geum canadense

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2013-June-27Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The achenes are initially green, but will turn brown. The hooks on the end will cling to clothing and animal hair.
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Geum canadense

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2013-June-27Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The stems of Geum canadense have spreading hairs. The cauline leaf petioles have stipules that are up to .5 inch long.
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Geum canadense

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2013-June-27Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The lower cauline leaves of White Avens may be trifoliate.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Geum canadense

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2013-June-27Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The upper stem leaves are usually not compound, but usually variably lobed. The leaves are toothed.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Geum canadense

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer