Large-leaved Avens
Geum macrophyllum Willd.
Family: Rosaceae, Rose
Genus: Geum
Other names: largeleaf avens
Nomenclature: macrophyllum = large leaved
Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant
Medicinal plant
No edibility data

General: perennial herb, stems 30-70 cm tall, spreading-stiff-hairy or somewhat bristly-hairy, usually also finely soft-hairy and often strongly glandular at least above, from a short rootstock.

Leaves: the basal ones several, the blades interruptedly pinnatifid, up to 30 cm long. Main leaflets 5-9, the terminal one much the largest, broadly triangular-ovate to cordate, small-toothed to deeply lobed, up to 15 cm in width, interspersed with smaller leaflets. Stem leaves 2-5, alternate, with large leafletlike stipules.

Flowers: few to several in a somewhat asymmetrical open cluster. Sepals sharp-pointed, bent back, 4-5 mm long. Petals 5, yellow, ovate to rounded, 4-6 mm long. April-August.

Fruits: achenes, compressed, elliptic in outline, about 3 mm long, the style bent above midlength and in 2 distinct segments, the lower segment sparsely glandular-short-hairy, about 4 mm long, persistent, usually reddish, hooked at the tip, the upper segment 1-1.5 mm long, usually short-hairy, yellowish, later dropped.


Common in moist woods or meadowland or along stream banks from the plains to subalpine areas, in w. and c. parts of MT. Also from AK and Canada to CA and Mexico.
var. perincisum:
Medicinal Uses

The Quinault Indians used large-leaved avens as a poultice of smashed leaves applied to cuts. The Clallam, Quileute, Snohomish, and Bella Coola Indians made a poultice of chewed or bruised leaves applied to boils. The Carrier Indians made a poultice of boiled leaves applied to bruises. For internal use the Bella Coola Indians used a decoction of the root taken for stomach pain. The Hesquiat Indians used the entire plant, including the roots, eaten as a medicine for stomach pains or excess acid.
The plant was also used for birth control and as an aid at child birth. The Chehalis Indians made a tea of the leaves taken to avoid conception. The Hesquiat Indians chewed the young, small leaves after childbirth to heal the womb. The Okanagan-Colville Indians made a tea of the roots taken by women after childbirth. The Klallam and Quinault Indians chewed raw leaves during labor. The Cree Indians made a decoction of the root with other herbs used for teething sickness.

Sub taxa:

var. macrophyllum Willd.:
Terminal segment of the basal leaves very shallowly rounded-lobed and minutely once or twice sharp-toothed. Leaflets of the stem leaves usually more nearly toothed (once or twice) than cleft. Flower stalks slightly if at all glandular. Faces of the achenes short-hairy. Mostly w. of the Cascades in our area, less common e. to w. MT.

var. perincisum (Rydb.) Raup:
Terminal segment of the basal leaves lobed up to 1/3 or 1/2 the length and again coarsely once or twice toothed or cleft. Leaflets of the stem leaves usually shallowly cleft to deeply toothed. Flower stalks rather strongly glandular. Achenes sparsely short-hairy to hairless on the faces. Mainly e. of the crest of the Cascades and in w. and c. parts of MT.

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