Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for White Avens - Geum canadense   Jacquin
Members of Rosaceae:
Members of Geum with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Rosales » Family Rosaceae
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AuthorJacquin
DistributionPresent essentially statewide, certainly throughout the Mountains and Piedmont, and found in most of the Coastal Plain. The sizable blank areas on the map for the south-central and eastern regions certainly indicate areas of scarcity but not real absences.

This is a very widespread Eastern species, from eastern Canada south to central GA and central TX, being absent only from FL.
AbundanceCommon in the Mountains, Piedmont, and the northwestern Coastal Plain. Infrequent to fairly common in most of the rest of the Coastal Plain, though scarce in a few areas, including the Sandhills region. This is the most numerous the state's many species in the genus.
HabitatThis species grows in moist or rich forested habitats, in many settings. It occurs in bottomland forests, lower hardwood slopes, cove forests, and in some swamp forests.
See also Habitat Account for Rich Wet-Mesic Hardwood Forests
PhenologyBlooms mainly from May to July, and sparingly later; fruits from May to frost.
IdentificationThis is a familiar species to biologists, seen in many moist forests, though mostly as basal rosettes and not often in bloom. It has a mostly smooth to somewhat pubescent stem, most hairy toward the base, that reaches about 2 feet tall. The basal leaves have long petioles and can be about 6 inches long, typically pinnately divided, but he segments are very variable though somewhat rounded. The stem leaves become smaller up the stem and are usually trifoliate toward the area where the flowering branches emerge from the main stem. Topping each of the many small branches is a single flower, with 5 lanceolate sepals about 1/4-inch long, and the 5 elliptical to obovate white petals, each at least 1.5 times longer than each sepal. Thus, the flower is about 2/3-inch across and is easily visible at a considerable distance, more strikingly so than in similar species, which have cream to yellow flowers. The basal leaves are a familiar sight on the forest floor in early spring, with many a layperson wondering what species is involved. The only other widespread Geum in the state -- G. virginianum -- has creamy to pale yellow petals that are shorter or at least less obvious to the observer. As with most other species in the genus, it might be tricky to identify the species simply by vegetative characters.
Taxonomic CommentsThis is another Geum that many references split into several varieties or subspecies. Weakley (2018) does not list sub-taxa.

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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