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

Geum triflorum Pursh
old man's whiskers (prairie smoke)
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #82508)

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

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Perennial herb, soft- to coarse-hairy throughout, from a short thick rhizome and stout stem-base covered in old leaf bases; stems erect, 20-40 cm tall, tufted.
Basal leaves numerous, short-stalked, interruptedly pinnately divided, oblong to egg-shaped in outline, 3-15 cm long, with 9 to 19 (29) crowded, wedge-shaped segments cleft again into narrow, toothed divisions; stem leaves opposite, 2 to 4, small, usually divided into linear lobes.
Inflorescence an open, bracted, terminal cluster of 1 to 5, usually 3, mostly nodding, stalked flowers that appear to be partially closed; corollas yellowish-white to pink or purplish, the petals 5, elliptic, erect, about as long as the calyx-bractlets; calyces urn- to cup-shaped, reddish-purple, 5-lobed, the lobes lance-triangular, erect, 8-12 mm long, alternating with 5 linear, spreading bractlets, slightly shorter to distinctly longer than the calyx-lobes; ovaries superior; stamens numerous.
Achenes, numerous in feathery clusters; achenes pear-shaped, erect, about 3 mm long, beaked; styles 2-5 cm long, slender, feathery-hairy except at the bent tip, bronze to purplish.
Two varieties occur in BC:

1. Flowers commonly 3; terminal segment of styles usually persistent; calyx-lobes lanceolate................ var. triflorum

1. Flowers commonly more than 3; terminal segment of styles usually deciduous; calyx-lobes narrowly egg-shaped ...............var. ciliatum (Pursh) Fassett

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

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

Habitat / Range

Dry to mesic grasslands, meadows, rocky slopes and open forests in the steppe, montane and subalpine zones; common in S BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, infrequent in the Peace River valley; N to YT and NT, E to NF and S to CA, NM, NE, IL and NY.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Geum triflorum

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) 170 1147 2296
Slope Gradient (%) 0 23 360
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 194 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 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: AT(21), BAFA(3), BG(100), BWBS(4), ESSF(128), ICH(12), IDF(359), MS(76), PP(112), SBPS(9), SBS(5), SWB(1)


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