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Wood Avens

Geum urbanum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rosaceae (Rose)
Also in this family:
Acute Leaf-lobed Lady's-mantle, Alpine Cinquefoil, Alpine Lady's-mantle, Ampfield Cotoneaster, Arran Service Tree, Arran Whitebeam, Barren Strawberry, Bastard Agrimony, Bastard Service Tree, Bearberry Cotoneaster, Bird Cherry, Blackthorn, Bloody Whitebeam, Bramble, Bristol Whitebeam, Broad-leaved Whitebeam, Broadtooth Lady's-mantle, Bronze Pirri-pirri-bur, Bullace Plum, Bullate Cotoneaster, Burnet Rose, Catacol Whitebeam, Caucasian Lady's-mantle, Cheddar Whitebeam, Cherry Laurel, Cherry Plum, Chinese Photinia, Cloudberry, Clustered Lady's-mantle, Common Agrimony, Common Hawthorn, Common Lady's-mantle, Common Medlar, Common Ninebark, Common Whitebeam, Crab Apple, Creeping Chinese Bramble, Creeping Cinquefoil, Crimean Lady's-mantle, Cultivated Apple, Cultivated Pear, Cut-leaved Blackberry, Damson, Devon Whitebeam, Dewberry, Diel's Cotoneaster, Dog Rose, Doward Whitebeam, Dropwort, Elm-leaved Bramble, English Whitebeam, Entire-leaved Cotoneaster, False Salmonberry, Field Rose, Firethorn, Fodder Burnet, Fragrant Agrimony, Franchet's Cotoneaster, Garden Lady's-mantle, Garden Strawberry, Giant Meadowsweet, Glaucous Dog Rose, Goatsbeard Spiraea, Gough's Rock Whitebeam, Great Burnet, Greengage Plum, Grey-leaved Whitebeam, Hairless Lady's-mantle, Hairy Lady's-mantle, Hautbois Strawberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Himalayan Cotoneaster, Himalayan Whitebeam, Hoary Cinquefoil, Hollyberry Cotoneaster, Hupeh Rowan, Hybrid Cinquefoil, Hybrid Geum, Irish Whitebeam, Japanese Cherry, Japanese Quince, Japanese Rose, Jew's Mallow, Juneberry, Lancaster Whitebeam, Late Cotoneaster, Least Lady's-mantle, Least Whitebeam, Leigh Woods Whitebeam, Ley's Whitebeam, Liljefor's Whitebeam, Littleleaf Cotoneaster, Llangollen Whitebeam, Llanthony Whitebeam, Lleyn Cotoneaster, Loganberry, Many-flowered Rose, Margaret's Whitebeam, Marsh Cinquefoil, Meadowsweet, Midland Hawthorn, Mougeot's Whitebeam, Mountain Ash, Mountain Avens, Mountain Sibbaldia, Moupin's Cotoneaster, No Parking Whitebeam, Ocean Spray, Orange Whitebeam, Pale Bridewort, Pale Lady's-mantle, Parsley Piert, Pirri-pirri-bur, Plymouth Pear, Portuguese Laurel, Purple-flowered Raspberry, Quince, Raspberry, Rock Cinquefoil, Rock Lady's-mantle, Rock Whitebeam, Round-leaved Dog Rose, Round-leaved Whitebeam, Rum Cherry, Russian Cinquefoil, Salad Burnet, Sargent's Rowan, Scannell's Whitebeam, Service Tree, Sharp-toothed Whitebeam, Sherard's Downy Rose, Shining Lady's-mantle, Ship Rock Whitebeam, Short-styled Rose, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Silver Lady's-mantle, Silverweed, Slender Parsley Piert, Slender-spined Bramble, Small-flowered Sweetbriar, Small-leaved Sweetbriar, Soft Downy Rose, Somerset Whitebeam, Sorbaria, Sour Cherry, Southern Downy Rose, Southern Lady's-mantle, Spineless Acaena, Spring Cinquefoil, St. Lucie's Cherry, Steeplebush, Stern's Cotoneaster, Stirton's Whitebeam, Stone Bramble, Sulphur Cinquefoil, Swedish Service Tree, Swedish Whitebeam, Sweet Briar, Symond's Yat Whitebeam, Tengyueh Cotoneaster, Thimbleberry, Thin-leaved Whitebeam, Tibetan Cotoneaster, Tormentil, Trailing Tormentil, Tree Cotoneaster, Trefoil Cinquefoil, Twin-cliffs Whitebeam, Two-spined Acaena, Wall Cotoneaster, Water Avens, Waterer's Cotoneaster, Waxy Lady's-mantle, Welsh Cotoneaster, Welsh Whitebeam, White Burnet, White's Whitebeam, White-stemmed Bramble, Wild Cherry, Wild Pear, Wild Plum, Wild Service Tree, Wild Strawberry, Willmott's Whitebeam, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Hedgerows, riversides, scrub, wasteland, woodland.

Yellow, 5 petals
The long stalked, star-shaped flowers appear in loose clusters and are up to 2 cm across in diameter. The sepals turn downwards as the fruit forms. The flowers are similar in appearance to those of Strawberry but are yellow rather than white. The flowers have numerous yellow anthers.
Hooked fruit forming a bur-like head, bronze-tipped.
The leaves are unstalked. The lower ones are pinnate with the terminal leaflet being much the largest. Stem leaves are smaller and trefoil.
The roots smell of cloves when crushed.
Other Names:
Bennet's Root, Colewort, Goldy Star, Herb Bennet, Old Man's Whiskers, St Benedict's Herb, Way Bennet.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Geum urbanum, also known as avens or herb Bennet, is a perennial plant that is native to Europe and Asia. It belongs to the rose family and is known for its small, yellow flowers and hairy, green leaves. Geum urbanum is a low-growing plant that is often used as a groundcover in gardens. It is easy to grow and is tolerant of a wide range of soil types and climates. Geum urbanum prefers full sun and is drought-tolerant once established. The plant is generally hardy and low maintenance, but it can be prone to pests such as aphids and slugs. Geum urbanum is also known for its medicinal properties and has been used traditionally to treat a variety of ailments. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effects and to determine the safety and effectiveness of using it medicinally.


Wood Avens (Geum urbanum) is a perennial herb that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a member of the rose family and is commonly found in woodlands, hedgerows, and along streams and rivers.

The plant has a distinctive rosette of lobed leaves that can grow up to 6 inches long. The leaves are dark green in color and have a rough texture. In late spring to early summer, the plant produces bright yellow, cup-shaped flowers on tall stems. The flowers are very attractive to bees and other pollinators, making Wood Avens a valuable addition to any garden.

In addition to its ornamental value, Wood Avens has a long history of medicinal use. The plant is a rich source of tannins, flavonoids, and other compounds that have anti-inflammatory, astringent, and antimicrobial properties. The roots, leaves, and flowers have been used to treat a wide range of ailments, including digestive issues, skin problems, and respiratory infections.

The plant is also edible, young leaves and flowers can be added to salads or used as a garnish. However, the plant should be used with caution as it can cause skin irritation in some people.

Cultivating Wood Avens is relatively easy. It prefers moist, well-drained soils and partial shade, but it can also tolerate full sun. It can be propagated by seed or division.

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal properties, Wood Avens is also a valuable plant for wildlife. The flowers are a favorite food source for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, making it an important plant for promoting biodiversity in your garden. The seeds are also consumed by small mammals and birds, providing an important source of food for them.

Another benefit of growing Wood Avens is its ability to tolerate a wide range of soil conditions. It can grow in heavy clay soils, sandy soils, and even in rocky or gravelly soils, making it a great plant for difficult or challenging sites. It is also tolerant of drought and can survive in dry conditions once established.

When planting Wood Avens, it is important to keep in mind that it can spread quite vigorously via its underground rhizomes. While this is a benefit in naturalized settings, it can be a problem in smaller gardens or more formal landscapes. To control its spread, it can be planted in a container or in a bed surrounded by a barrier such as a rock or plastic edging.

In summary, Wood Avens is an excellent choice for any gardener looking to add a versatile and beautiful plant to their landscape. Its bright yellow flowers, medicinal properties, and wildlife benefits make it a valuable addition to any garden. Its hardiness and ability to tolerate a wide range of soil conditions make it a great plant for difficult or challenging sites. With a little care and attention, Wood Avens will thrive in your garden for years to come.

One interesting thing to note about Wood Avens is that it has been traditionally used in folk medicine as a treatment for various ailments. It was believed to have healing properties for conditions such as wounds, diarrhea, and even toothaches. The roots of the plant were often chewed or made into a tea to alleviate these symptoms.

In modern times, research has been conducted on the medicinal properties of Wood Avens, and it has been found to contain compounds such as tannins, flavonoids, and triterpenoids that have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties. These compounds may help to reduce inflammation in the body, protect against cellular damage, and fight off harmful microorganisms.

While Wood Avens has many potential health benefits, it is important to note that it should not be used as a substitute for professional medical treatment. It is always best to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before using any herbal remedies.

In terms of cultivation, Wood Avens is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of conditions. It is easy to grow and care for, and it can be propagated by seed or by division. It is best planted in a moist, well-drained soil in a location with partial shade or dappled sunlight. It will grow to a height of about 12-18 inches and can spread to form a clump over time.

In conclusion, Wood Avens is a valuable plant for any gardener. It is not only beautiful and easy to grow, but it also has a long history of medicinal use and is an important food source for wildlife. Its hardiness and ability to tolerate a wide range of conditions make it a great choice for difficult or challenging sites. With a little care and attention, Wood Avens will thrive in your garden for years to come.


Wood Avens filmed in Adlington, Bolton and Carnforth during mid to late May of 2023.


Music credits
Cumbia No Frills Faster by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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