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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

15 February, 2017

Water Avens: cure all

Water avens (Geum rivale) is another one of those flowers that are members of the rose family but when you first see it you probably not make the connection. As you look closer so the characteristics of the rose group of plants become more apparent.
First of all, we associate roses as being woody, shrubby plants whereas water avens is far from that. It is a small vascular plant growing to about a foot tall, occasionally  in favourable conditions a bit higher.  It has a soft, flexible stem, this is reddish in colour and downy but, unlike rose shrubs it has no thorns. Each plant has multiple stems and each divides with each then producing a flower which is a characteristic of roses. The flowers bend the stem over and they appear to be bells; when you look at the bell closely you will find the five petals that roses feature. Further down the stem the leaves are trefoil, come to a pint and have a serrated edge, again recalling roses. 
Water avens can be found in damp, shady places, often in woodlands, in marshes and by streams. They flower from April through until September and we have a lovely bunch by our garden pond. In general I have not found this to be particularly common in Dorset. It can hybridise with wood avens, the result being a flower not very much like either! It appears the name 'avens' may be of Anglo-Saxon origin so this flower has been around for some time!
Wikipedia gives a series of other names for this plant including cure-all and yet gives no information about its medical properties or benefits. I guess if it cures all that is enough said, it cures all!
Water Avens: cure all