WHITE AVENS





(Geum Canadense; G. album of Gray) Rose family



Flowers - White or pale greenish yellow, about 1/2 in. across,

loosely scattered in small clusters on slender peduncles. Calyx

persistent, 5-cleft, with little bracts between the reflexed

divisions; 5 petals, equaling or shorter than the sepals; stamens

and carpels numerous, the latter collected on a short,

bristly-hairy receptacle; styles smooth below, hairy above,

jointed. Stem: 2 1/2 ft. high or less, slender, branching above.

Leaves: Seated on stem or short petioled, of 3 to 5 divisions, or

lobed, toothed small stipules; also irregularly divided large

root-leaves on long petioles, 3-foliate, usually the terminal

leaflet large, broadly ovate side leaflets much smaller, all more

or less lobed and toothed. Fruit: A ball of achenes, each ending

in an elongated, hooked style.

Preferred Habitat - Woodland borders, shady thickets and

roadsides.

Flowering Season - June-September.

Distribution - Nova Scotia to Georgia, west to the Mississippi or

beyond.



Small bees and flies attracted to sheltered, shady places by

these loosely scattered flowers at the ends of zig-zagged stems,

pay for the nectar they sip from the disk where the stamens are

inserted, by carrying some of the pollen lunch on their heads

from the older to the younger flowers, which mature stigmas

first. But saucy bumblebees, undutiful pilferers from the purple

avens, rarely visit blossoms so inconspicuous. Insects failing

these, they are well adapted to pollenize themselves. Most of us

are all too familiar with the seeds, clinging by barbed styles to

any garment passing their way, in the hope that their stolen ride

will eventually land them in good colonizing ground. Whoever

spends an hour patiently picking off the various seed tramps from

his clothes after a walk through the woods and fields in autumn,

realizes that the by hook or by crook method of scattering

offspring is one of Nature's favorites. Simpler plants than those

with hooked achenia produce enormous numbers of spores so light

and tiny that the wind and rain distribute them wholesale.





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