Geum laciniatum (Rough Avens)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Rosaceae (Rose)
Habitat:part shade, shade, sun; moist to wet; meadows, thickets, seeps, flood plains
Bloom season:May - June
Plant height:16 to 40 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flower] The flowers are 1/3 to ½ inch across, each on a 1 to 3-inch densely hairy stalk, in a loose cluster of 1 to 3 flowers at tips of branching stems and upper leaf axils, typically one flower opening at a time. Petals are white, oval to egg shaped, less than ¼ inch long, alternating between the larger green, sharply triangular sepals behind them. The flower center is a conspicuous round swirl of thick, hair-like green styles, ringed by creamy tipped stamens that quickly turn brown. Flowers nod down when first opening turning upward as the stalk elongates and the seedhead matures.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: compound Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: palmate Leaf type: simple

[photo of lower leaves] Leaves can be highly variable. The primary basal leaves are pinnately compound and long stalked, fiddle shaped in outline, up to 6 inches long and 3 inches wide, the wedge-shaped leaflets widely spaced along central stalk and further deeply cleft into narrow segments with coarsely lobed edges, and pale on the underside from silvery hairs. Stem leaves are alternate, the lower with fewer and broader leaflets, 3 to 5 crowded towards the tip and coarsely toothed; some with a large, round or shallowly lobed end leaflet and a few small lateral leaflets. Upper stem leaves are smaller and stalkless with three palmately compound leaflets, or a 3-lobed simple leaf. Stems are single or several, densely covered with stiff hairs throughout, mostly unbranched or few branches in the upper plant.

Fruit: Fruit type: barbed Fruit type: seed without plume

[photo of fruit] Fruit is an upright, bristly ball about ¾ inch in diameter, each seed (achene) is tipped by the dried style that has a hook at the tip.


On the NW edge of its North American range, Rough Avens is not frequently encountered in Minnesota and is listed by the Minnesota DNR as a tracked species. Except for a handful of earlier records, most of what is known about its distribution and habitat in this state are from collections made since the early 1980s. A moisture lover, it appears to tolerate a range of light conditions from open wet meadows and stream banks to deep deciduous woods and shady ravines. In our botanizing we've encountered it twice, both of which would be new MN county records, but too early or late in the season to catch it flowering. One is in a deep mucky seep at Battle Creek Regional Park in Ramsey County and another in a wet quarry bottom in Banning State Park, Pine County.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Aitkin County and in a private garden in Ramsey County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Erica - Roseville Villa Park Area
on: 2014-08-21 19:58:07

Will send some photos for confirmation. First appeared as a volunteer last year under a shrub. About 2.5 feet tall with beautiful array of brown red seed heads as August closes down. Much larger/ more robust plant as compared to the white avens also growing in this area. I'll try to catch it flowering next summer.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2014-08-21 20:35:56

I wouldn't expect this species to volunteer in a suburban park. If you haven't seen it flowering yet, one of us may be surprised when you do. :)

Posted by: Adam Tembreull - Rogers, MN
on: 2021-06-12 22:42:11

A bunch of this is currently flowering in my backyard, under the deck. A friend ID'd it as White Avens, but it's definitely Rough Avens based on the size of the petals.

Posted by: Tami Traeger - MINNEAPOLIS
on: 2021-06-25 18:54:20

This plant came up as a volunteer in my patch of sundrops in 2021. I went looking to see what it is. I think this is correct based on my photos and study of the plant.

Posted by: Stephanie Hiatt - Minneapolis
on: 2021-08-01 17:49:03

I just found one one volunteer in the front of our yard in south Minneapolis. Post-flower, the fruit have the hooks on the end. Maybe seeds were spread by a passing dog? Can send photos...

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2021-08-02 06:05:13

Stephanie, please post photos on the Minnesota Wildflowers Facebook page if you'd like confirmation.

Posted by: Tom Steinman - Wealthwood, Aitkin County
on: 2021-08-05 15:35:05

I have an ever-enlarging cluster of this GEUM. Spreading profusely since 2019. Now about 40/ft. in diameter

Posted by: Pam Danielson - Barnum
on: 2023-06-15 19:21:59

Shady wet area, near Ash swamp. 6-15-2023.

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