Wood Avens, Herb Bennet, Colewort

Wood Avens (Geum urbanum) is closely related to the strawberries. The also known as Herb Bennet, Colewort or St. Benedict’s Herb plant prefers semi-shady to shady locations and can be found along roadsides, on walls, in front of hedges or bushes, in gardens and parks. Its natural habitat is deciduous forest or mixed deciduous forest. The distribution area includes Europe as well as some Asian and North African countries. As an introduced species it also can be found in Australia, New Zealand and North America.

Geum urbanum

The botanical species name “urbanum” does not seem to refer to the distribution in urban habitats. If I have translated this correctly, it means “polite”.

Herb Bennet

Geum urbanum is a perennial and evergreen plant that can grow up to 60 centimetres high. The flowering period here in Germany lasts from May to September. The fruits look like burdock and are spread by animals.

Wood Avens and Red Bryony
Wood Avens and Red Bryony

Its close relationship with strawberries suggests that the Wood Avens is not poisonous but edible and can be used as an aromatic or medicinal plant. It is said to have an anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect and can be used against diarrhoea, inflammation of the mucous membrane of the mouth or toothache.

Colewort

Wood Avens at the roadside
Wood Avens at the roadside

Wood Avens growing between cobblestones

Wood Avens fruits
Wood Avens burdock fruits