Geum macrophyllum : Large-leaf Aven


Scientific Name:

Kingdom: Plantae


Class: Dicoteldonae (two seed-leaves)

Family: Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Genera: Geum (Avens) (Lat. Ancient latin name for these plants several origins have been suggested.)

Species: macrophyllum (Gk. makros=long + phyllon=leaves = large leaved)

Synonym(s): G.perincisum

English Name(s):

Large-leaf Aven,

First Nation Names:



  • Herbaceous (not woody) plants from subligneous (almost woody) rhizomes (rootstralk).
  • Plant (28)60-70(100)cm tall.
  • Stems erect, pubescent (hairy) with spreading hairs, often with 2-4 short-stalked to stalkless leaves below the flowers.


  • Pinnately divided. With terminal lobes larger than the side ones.
  • Mainly basal (from base), 12-30cm long, leaflets 4-12 lateral pairs and a large terminal leaflet.
  • Basal leaves distinctly lyrate in shape, with terminal leaflet cordate in shape.
  • Terminal leaflet 2.5-10cm long by 3-12cm wide. Much larger than progresively smaller lateral leaflets.
  • Margins crenate-dentate (round or pointy toothed).
  • Cauline (stem) leaves divided into 3 distinct leaflets. Much smaller than basal leaves.

Reproductive Parts:

  • Inflorescence (flower cluster) a 4 or more flowered cyme.
  • Sepals 5 alternating with small sepal-like bracts.
  • Petals 5 pale yellow, about 7mm long.
  • Stamens (male parts) numerous.
  • Pistils (female parts) numerous, 1-cavitied.
  • Styles long, sharply curved or hooked, feathery and persistent (not falling off) on fruit.


  • Fruit is a seed-like achene (nutlet), born on a dry, cone-shaped receptacle.
  • Achenes with long hooked hairy beaks of which the tip portion is deciduous (falling off).
  • Sepals become reflexed (bent backward) when plant in fruit.
  • Fruiting head globose-ovoid in shape.
  • Receptacle (flower base) glabrous (hairless) or short hispid (stiff hairs).

Not to Be Confused With:

  • The other Geums (Avens). Geum glaciale (Glacier Aven) can be distinguished by the lakc of large terminal lobes on its leaves and solitary flowers. Geum rossii (Ross's Aven) can be distinguished by its hairless leaves and stem and smaller flowers.



Life Cycle:

Seasonal Cycle:

  • Plants deciduous (dieing back) from rhizomes (rootstalk).
  • Blooms in early July.


Animal Uses:


  • Meadows and damp thickets.
  • Along beaches and roadsides.





  • 30ml plant material boiled in 500ml of water is taken in doses of one small glassful a day as a bitter tonic to increase appitite after illness, help stop diarrhea, and relieve female problems.
  • Fresh leaves soaked in hot water are used in compresses to relieve aches, sprains and pulled muscles.
  • The tea made of plant material can also be gargled to sooth sore gums.
  • 1tbsp of chopped roots boiled in 250ml milk or water maked a tea taken for dysentry. 500-750ml in a day sipped over several hours is usually needed.
  • 2tbsp boiled for 20 minutes in 1 liter of water and drunk in small dosses for 2-3 days is said to be good for uterine bleeding, excessive menstral bleeding, and middle of the month spotting.
  • 5ml of dried plant material boiled in 250ml water makes a tea that is drunk between meals to relieve inflamation and irritability of the stomach lining.


  • Plants are eaten in northeastern Asia.

Traditional Gwich'in:





          Traditional Other:


          • When kept in the house Avens are thought to render the devil powerless there.



            • In England roots were marinated in wine and eaten as a remedy for heart trouble.
            • Roots were sometimes mixed in ale as a stomach medicine.


            • Rootstalks dried, were once used as a clove substitute.


            Illustration from: Illustrated flora of BC

            Range Maps

            World Range: North American Boreal; NL & LB to AK, from near treeline south to CA, NM, SD, and MN.

            Prov/State Abrev. List

            In Yukon: North to about 65N then disjunct to Procupine River.

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