Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

White avens

with 20 comments

White Avens Flower 6256

One consequence of letting my back yard go wild is that a few of the native plants in the area have reasserted themselves in what is after all their natural habitat. When I went out back on April 29th I found that a colony of white avens, Geum canadense, had sprung up and was happily flowering. This species is in the rose family but the flowers are much smaller, only about half an inch (13mm) across.

Although I’ve photographed white avens in Great Hill Park over the years, today marks the species’ debut in these pages. (That’s right: even after almost four years, there are still more native species to show here.) To see the many places in North America that are home to this wildflower, you can check out the USDA website.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 2, 2015 at 5:32 AM

20 Responses

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  1. Gorgeous shot!


    June 2, 2015 at 5:33 AM

  2. Is this its first appearance in your back yard?


    June 2, 2015 at 5:46 AM

  3. I’ve had more fun seeing native plants turn up in my yard…some of them do assert themselves, don’t they?


    June 2, 2015 at 9:46 AM

    • I wish even more of them did. One that I found a few specimens of shortly after we moved in was poison ivy, and that’s one native plant I made an exception of and decided not to tolerate back there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 2, 2015 at 12:40 PM

      • A wise decision. That really does spread all over and waits, ready to grab an ankle or unsuspecting hand. There is a rash of them in the forest preserves here 🙂


        June 3, 2015 at 10:06 AM

  4. I find many advantages to allowing the yard to go wild…Mary Beth, not so much. So I am allowed a few spots. Although not native, I have two patches of oxeye daisies that escape the mower. Bluets and violets as well. Later the boneset will blossom and attract dozens of insect species. There are a few others but, sadly, no wild white avens are here. It is so rewarding to have some of the subject you love right out the back door.

    Steve Gingold

    June 2, 2015 at 6:30 PM

    • You mentioned boneset. We have a species of it here that normally flowers in the fall but it flowered a few weeks ago, perhaps because all the rain we had confused the plants.

      Maybe you can introduce some more native species into your yard. Those that are especially attractive could pass muster.

      Sorry you haven’t noticed any white avens, which I see is marked for every county in Massachusetts on the USDA map.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 2, 2015 at 7:52 PM

  5. Actually I think that leaving the lawn go wild is that it retains the water a lot better as well. Lovely photo.

    Raewyn's Photos

    June 2, 2015 at 6:33 PM

  6. […] first two had white in their names: white prickly poppy and white avens. The rain-lily, Cooperia pedunculata, isn’t named that way, but it’s white all the […]

  7. With apologies to the good Mr. Poe:

    “Flower!” said I, “thing of beauty — standing ‘gainst the mower’s duty —
    Whether breezes sent, or trashman, tossed thee here at last to thrive,
    Delicate, yet all undaunted, in this native yard enchanted,
    In this home by yard crews haunted, tell me truly, I implore:
    Is there — is there hope for natives? Tell me, tell me, I implore!”
    Quoth the Aven, “Bloom some more.”


    June 3, 2015 at 7:41 AM

    • That’s great, Linda: you really hit it with this Poe-etry. Now you’re among the mavens of the avens and the ravens. I only wish we could say to the mowers “Nevermore!”

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 3, 2015 at 9:01 AM

  8. […] One of the first native plants we encountered when Melissa took us to the Volo Bog on June 7th was Geum triflorum, known as prairie smoke. Here you see a few buds. From what I’ve read online, the flowers of this species occur in threes. From what I’ve seen with my own eyes, the flowers of Geum triflorum are quite different from those of the Geum canadense that grows in Austin. […]

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