Geum Logo






Geums are members of the Rosaceae family with typically five petals, numerous stamens and evergreen leaves. There are possibly as many as 50 species, estimates vary, which grow in all the temperate regions of the world, Australia being the only continent with no indigenous species. There are two species native to the British Isles, Geum urbanum, or wood avens, to be found in the south growing in shade in wooded areas, and Geum rivale, or water avens, which grows further north in shady damp areas.

Geums require fertile, water retentive soil.

Breading of new plants is an ongoing enterprise but on the whole those available to gardeners fall into one of the following categories: 

1. Geums showing the influence of Geum chiloense. These are the most spectacular mostly with double flowers in shades of red, orange and yellow held on tall stems between 50 and 80 centimetres. The long leaves which have a large terminal leaflet arise in a rosette from a central point at ground level. They grow well in sun or partial shade but flowering is poor in deep shade.

2. Geums showing the influence of Geum rivale have nodding flowers with a contrasting calyx surrounding the petals.  The species has inconspicuous petals but there are many cultivars which have more prominent colourful petals and flowers which can be both single and double, sometimes on the same plant. Colours range from white through cream, pink, red,  and yellow. Leaves have round terminal leaflets. The plants spread by horizontal rhizomes and grow best in shade or semi shade.

3. Geum coccineum grows in alpine regions and has single bright orange/red flowers on short stems, the plants being small and compact. If growing in direct sun the leaves can become scorched in very hot weather so they do better with some shade. The leaves typically have sharply toothed terminal leaflets and small leaflets arranged alternately down the stem.