Information on Wood Avens

Common Name: Wood Avens
Scientific Name: Geum urbanum
Irish Name: Machall coille
Family Group: Rosaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Wood Avens is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


Also known as Herb Bennet, this is a slightly hairy perennial which carries its five-petalled yellow flowers (8-20mm across) on erect stems from May to September in our hedgerows and shady places. The petals spread out and in the spaces between them the green sepals are visible. The stem-leaves are 3-lobed whereas the basal leaves have 3-6 pairs of small leaflets and a large terminal one.  Along the stem are leaf-like stipules. The fruit is bur-like with hooked little red spines which cling to animals and so aid dispersal. This wayside plant is native and belongs to the family Rosaceae

I first identified this little plant at Kilcoole in Co Wicklow in 1978 and photographed it at Pollardstown Fen, Co Kildare in 2006

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Avens, Wood
Avens, Wood

The name 'Herb Bennet' is thought to come from the Latin for a blessed herb 'Herb Benedicta' as it was said to drive away evil spirits.  It was hung on doors to stop the devil from entering buildings. It is also a food plant for larvae of the Grizzled Skipper butterfly