Botanical Name: Geum triflorum
Species: G. triflorum
Common Names: Prairie smoke, Three-flowered avens, Old man’s whiskers, Purple Avens.
Habitat: Geum triflorum is native to N. America – Newfoundland and New York, west to British Columbia and south to California It grows on damp places and mountain screes.
Geum triflorum is a perennial herbaceous plant, growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a medium rate. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
It has pinnately divided leaves with 7–17 primary leaflets; there are also a few smaller secondary leaflets inserted between some of the primary leaflets. They are arranged in a rosette at ground level and are semi-evergreen: some basal leaves remain over the winter and often turn reddish purple.
The flowers bloom in spring. They appear on short reddish purple-tinged stems 15 to 41 cm (6 to 16 in) high and are arranged in umbels of 3 to 5 flowers. At the base of the umbel are leaflike green to reddish purple bracts. Sometimes there are also pairs of leaflike bracts on the stem below the umbel or on the stems of individual flowers. While blooming, the flowers nod downwards and remain mostly closed and bud-like, except for a tiny opening at the bottom. The five petals are cream to yellowish, suffused with pink or purple, but are mostly covered by the five red sepals. Between the sepals are five narrow bractlets. Hidden within the flower are a central cluster of pistils and a ring of many stamens around them.
Pollinated flowers turn upwards and open up. The pistils in the middle of the flower develop into heads of seeds with long fuzzy hairs that point upwards. The hairs resemble mauve smoke, hence the name prairie smoke.
The leaves and flowers grow from a caudex. The plant spreads by short underground rhizomes.
Landscape Uses:Ground cover. Easily grown in any moderately good garden soil that is well-drained. Prefers a soil rich in organic matter. Prefers a rather damp soil. Plants are hardy to about -20°c. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Special Features:Attractive foliage, North American native, Suitable for cut flowers.
Seed – sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer’ Division in spring or autumn. This should be done every 3 – 4 years in order to maintain the vigour of the plant. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.
Edible Uses: A decoction of the roots is a tea substitute. It tastes like a weak sassafras tea. A brew was used in Indian sweat houses as a body wash for aches and pains.
A strong decoction of the roots is used as a tonic in the treatment of severe coughs and fevers. This decoction can also be used as an eye wash and as a mouth wash for sore throats. An infusion of the roots, mixed with oil, can be applied as a salve to sores, rashes, blisters and flesh wounds. An infusion can also be used as a wash for aching joints, stiff sore muscles etc. Some Plateau Indian tribes used three-flowered avens to treat tuberculosis.
Other Uses: The crushed ripe seeds are used as a perfume.
The flowers produce both nectar and pollen. They are visited mainly by bumblebees, which are able to force their way into the mostly closed flowers and reach the nectar.They also buzz-pollinate to dislodge pollen from the stamens and gather it to feed their young. Smaller bees such as sweat bees from the genus Lasioglossum feed on pollen grains from the opening of the flower. Bumblebees are the only effective cross-pollinators. Various insects chew holes in the top of the flower, near the stem, to reach the nectar
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.