Purple Avens
Geum rivale
L.
Other names: Water avens
Family: Rosaceae, Rose
Genus: Geum

Description
General: perennial with short to rather extensive, scaly
rootstocks. Flowering stems mostly 40-60 cm tall, mostly
stiff-hairy but becoming softly short-hairy above.
Leaves: the basal ones several, up to 30 cm long,
pinnately divided, the leaflets mostly 7-15, once or twice
round- to sharp-toothed, the 3 at the end much larger,
obovate to wedge-shaped, up to 10 cm long. Stem leaves
2-5, alternate, reduced, the stipules leafletlike, the blades
pinnatifid below to deeply 3-lobed above.
Flowers: bell- to urn-shaped, about 3 to 7 in an open
cluster, the flowers nodding in the bud but becoming erect.
Calyx reddish-purple, the 5 lobes lanceolate, pointed, about
10 mm long, erect. Petals 5, rounded, yellow to pinkish,
not spreading, mostly 2-3 mm shorter than the sepals.
Stamens 100 or more. Styles bent at joint near tip.
Flowering time: Late June-July.
Fruits: achenes, elliptic, 3-4 mm long, stiff-hairy, the
lower (persistent) joint of the style 6-8 mm long, stiff-hairy
below, hairless above, hooked at the tip, the upper segment
ultimately dropped, sparsely stiff-hairy, 3-4 mm. long.

Distribution
Stream banks, lake shores, bogs, and wet meadows, in w.
and c. parts of MT. Also from B.C. and Alberta to WA, s. in
the Rocky Mts. to NM, e. to MO, IN, NJ, and in Eurasia.

Edible and Medicinal plant: see below.
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Contents
Identification
English Names Index
Scientific Names Index
Family Index
(click on images for full size)

Edible Uses:
The dried or fresh root of purple avens can be boiled in water to make a well-tasting chocolate-like drink. It can also be used as a seasoning. It is best harvested in the spring or autumn but can be used all year round.

Medicinal Uses:
The root is of purple avens is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, aromatic, has agents that produce contraction in living tissue, induce perspiration, and can reduce fevers. It aids and improves the action of the stomach, is astringent that stops bleeding by contracting the blood vessels, and is a tonic. Purple avens was used medicinally by the Iroquois, Malecite, and Micmac Indians. A decoction of the root was taken, especially by children, for dysentery, coughs and colds. A decoction of roots was boiled four times and used for the spitting of blood. An infusion of the root was used by children with diarrhea, and it was taken for fevers.

Other Uses:
The dried root repels moths.



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