Wood Avens

©Northeast Wildlife

Wood Avens

Scientific name: Geum urbanum
Look for Wood Avens along hedgerows and in woodlands. Its yellow flowers appear in spring and provide nectar for insects; later, they turn to red, hooked seadheads that can easily stick to a passing animal.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 50cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

May to August

About

A common plant of hedgerows and woodlands, Wood Avens is also known as 'Herb Bennet'. Small, quickly drooping, yellow flowers appear on slender stems from May to August and are a good source of nectar. Wood Avens is also a foodplant of the caterpillars of the Grizzled Skipper butterfly.

How to identify

Wood Avens is a straggly, hairy plant that has downy, three-lobed leaves with toothed edge, and yellow flowers with five petals. The flowers appear in loose clusters and are replaced by spiky seed heads with red hooks that can easily get picked up by passing animals.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

It's thought that the common name 'Herb Bennet' arose from the medieval Latin 'herba benedicta' meaning 'the blessed herb' because the plant was widely used in herbal medicine at this time.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to surveying for woodland plants.