- A Modern Herbal, by Mrs. M. Grieve Home Page
Avens (Mountain)
Dryas octopetala

Avens (Mountain)

Botanical: Dryas octopetala (LINN,)
Family: N.O. Rosaceae

---Description---The Mountain Avens (Dryas octopetala, Linn.) is a small plant, 2 to 3 inches high, distinguished from all other plants of the order Rosaceae by its oblong deeply-cut leaves, which are white with a woolly down beneath, and by its large, handsome, anemone-like, white flowers, which have eight petals. It blooms in the spring. It is not uncommon in the mountainous parts of the British Isles, especially on limestone.

When cultivated, it likes a sunny spot, not too dry, and prefers a little lime in the soil. It is propagated by layers or seeds, layers being the easiest method.

Although our native species are not striking enough to be made use of by the horticulturist, there are many garden varieties of Geum which are easily grown in fairly rich, loamy soil and are mostly propagated by dividing the roots in early autumn or in spring as growth commences. Seeds can be sown in the spring, either in the open or in well-drained pots or shallow boxes in cold frames.

The favourite varieties are the Scarlet Avens of Chile, Geum coccineum, the red G. sylvaticum, and the yellow-flowered G. montanum and G. elatum of the Himalayas, and G. reptans of the Alps.


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Bear in mind "A Modern Herbal" was written with the conventional wisdom of the early 1900's. This should be taken into account as some of the information may now be considered inaccurate, or not in accordance with modern medicine.

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