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Large-leaved Avens (Geum macrophyllum var. macrophyllum)

Life history

Species overview

Large-leaved Avens (Geum macrophyllum var. macrophyllum), a Wisconsin Special Concern plant, is found in moist woods, thickets, and rocky ledges and openings, sometimes weedy. Blooming occurs early May through mid-August; fruiting occurs early June through mid-September. The optimal identification period for this species is early June through mid-August.

Synonyms: None


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Distinguished from other Geum species by having a glabrous receptacle. Distinguished from Geum laciniatum by having pedicels closely puberelent rather than spreading pubescence and by having beak of achene with short-stalked glands. Distinguished from Geum macrophyllum var. perincisum by having less dissected leaves with the terminal leaflet of the middle stem leaves 3-cleft to about the middle and with the lobes merely toothed.
  • Flower characteristics: Petals yellow, 4 to 7 mm, somewhat exceeding the sepals; style with basal segment slightly glandular, the terminal segment minutely hairy.
  • Fruit characteristics: Achenes minutely hairy throughout, with coarse, stiff hairs about the summit, beak with short-stalked glands; receptacle glabrous.
  • Leaf characteristics: Leaves large; basal leaves with long petioles, the terminal segment rotund to kidney-shaped, 5 to 12 cm wide, often with 3 lobes; lateral leaves few and much smaller, interspersed with several to many minute leaflets; upper leaves short-petioled to sessile, deeply 3-lobed or 3-foliolate.


  • Blooming phenology: early May through mid-August
  • Fruiting phenology: early June through mid-September
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is early June through mid-August


  • Growth form: Forb-erect
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Agropyron repens, Calamagrostis canadensis, Carex spp., Eupatorium maculatum, Galium spp., Impatiens spp., Leersia oryzoides, Lycopus americanus, Onoclea sensibilis, Phalaris arundinacea, Polygonum sagittatum, Scirpus spp.,

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Large-leaved Avens (Geum macrophyllum var. macrophyllum). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Geum macrophyllum var. macrophyllum in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1
Global RankG5T5
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in moist woods, thickets, and rocky ledges and openings, sometimes weedy.
  • Soils: Moist or rocky soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Large-leaved Avens. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score
Northern Hardwood Swamp 2
Boreal Forest 2

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Large-leaved Avens. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Ecological landscape score
North Central Forest 2
Superior Coastal Plain 2

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.
  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Maintain and restore open habitat through selective clearing and brushing.
  • Minimize disturbance to hydrology, including soil disturbance from rutting.


Large-leaved Avens Photo.

Photo © Steven Spickerman.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition