Wood Avens - Geum Urbanum

Identify Wood Avens

WOOD AVENS (Geum urbanum)

Wood Avens - Geum Urbanum

How to Identify Wood Avens(Edible)

Common names
Wood Avens, Clove Root, Colewort, Herb Bennet, and St Benedict’s Herb

Botanical name
Geum urbanum

Meaning of botanical
Geum is derived from the Greek word Geno, which means “pleasant fragrance”, while Urbanum means “of the city”

Known hazards

Could be confused withWater Avens (Geum rivale), and wild strawberries (Fragaria), but the clove-like scent of the root differentiates from these

Food plant ofThe Grizzled Skipper Butterfly caterpillar, which eats Wood Avens

Range and distribution
Europe, the Middle East and North America

HabitatFound in woodland and garden lawns, particularly in shade

Physical characteristics
Strawberry-like leaves grow in a rosette close to the ground. The leaves gradually turn upwards and the pant produces a tall flower stalk. The flowers are similar in appearance to those of the strawberry, but are yellow in colour.

The roots, when crushed, smell similar to cloves

Folklore, tall tales, and not so folklore:
The roots were once used as a protective amulet against evil spirits, snakes and rabid dogs

Edible use
The roots are used to flavour drinks, syrups, preserves and stews

HerbalHas been used to treat dog bits, liver disease, chest infections, gastric upsets, diarrhoea, mouth ulcers, toothache, halitosis and heart disease. If you have a medical complaint, please speak to you doctor