Geum, Avens, Large-Leaved Geum macrophyllum
Rosaceae – rose family.
The outermost lobe on the basal leaves (“phylum”) is large (“macro”) and lobulated. This is an unusual design to better catch sunlight in the woods when overlapped by smaller leaves, and inspires both the common and specific names. The shredded root of a Mediterranean species was used to impart a relish (“geyo” in Greek), explaining the origin of the generic name.
In the spring, the burgeoning and overlapping basal leaves of large-leaved avens (geum) resemble those of the related strawberry. But the plant is more distinctive when one or more tall stems arise, bearing bright yellow flowers of five petals. By the summer dry season, the expended flowers are replaced by balls of hooked seeds awaiting transport by animal fur, trousers, and shoe laces.
The leaves of this woodland perennial were used in Native medicine as an astringent to dry up boils and open cuts.
Information courtesy of “The View From Springbrook Park; an Illustrated Natural History” by Ed Chinn.
Photos taken by Laura Tanz
Sponsored by Friends of Springbrook Park; Lake Oswego, OR