E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Geum rivale L.
water avens (purple avens)
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Curtis Bjork  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #16597)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Geum rivale
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from short rhizome and stout stem-base; stems erect, 30-80 cm tall, simple or few-branched, coarse-hairy becoming fine-hairy above.
Basal leaves several, long-stalked, interruptedly pinnately cleft, 10-30 cm long, hairy at least beneath, with 7 to 15 cleft and toothed segments, 1 to 3 of them much larger than the others, the terminal segment the largest, to 10 cm long, broadly egg-shaped and 3-lobed; additional much smaller segments remote and variable in shape; stem leaves alternate, 2 to 5, much smaller, variously toothed to 3-lobed.
Inflorescence an open, bracted, terminal cluster of 1 to 9 stalked flowers, the flowers nodding at first, later erect; corollas orange-pink to yellow and purple-veined, bell-shaped, the petals 5, erect, spoon-shaped, shallowly notched, 7-9 mm long; calyces reddish-purple, 5-lobed, the lobes erect, lanceolate, about 10 mm long, alternating with linear bractlets about 1/3 the length of the calyx lobes; ovaries superior; stamens very numerous, 100 or more.
Achenes, numerous, spreading, in hemispheric heads; achenes ellipsoid, flattened, 3-4 mm long, stiff-hairy, beaked with the 9- to 12-mm long style, which has an S-shaped kink a little above the middle, the lower persistent joint hairy below and smooth above, the upper (above the kink) ultimately deciduous joint long-hairy.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Marshes, streambanks, swamps, and moist to wet meadows and open forests in the lowland and montane zones; infrequent in BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, S of 57degreeN; circumboreal, E to NF and S to CA, NM, MO and PA; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Geum rivale

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 8 1007 1943
Slope Gradient (%) 0 2 30
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 109 355
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 6 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BWBS(6), ESSF(21), ICH(18), IDF(10), MS(7), PP(2), SBPS(5), SBS(45)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References