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White Avens vs Spring Avens

These species are sometimes confused but are easy to identify at any time of year if you know what to look for. There are obvious differences in bloom color and timing, as well as fruit size and structure. G. canadense has a much broader range and is also found in a wider range of habitats, including sunnier, drier conditions, anthropogenic habitats, and adverse soil conditions. G. vernum is less tolerant of sunny, dry conditions, and is more restricted to deciduous woodlands with rich, loamy soil.

White Avens (Geum canadense)

Spring Avens (Geum vernum)

An perennial with inconspicuous flowers native and common across much of central to eastern North America.
A perennial with inconspicuous flowers, native to the central to eastern US, completing most of its growth in the spring.
Flowers are white, much larger (Petals 4–8 mm.) Blooms later (June, often later in June.)
Photo © , CC BY-SA 4.0.
Flowers are yellow, much smaller (Petals 1-2mm.) Blooms earlier (May, often early in May.)
Photo © aarongunnar, CC BY 4.0.
Photo © Nicole Michel, CC BY 4.0.
Photo © Alex Zorach, CC BY-SA 4.0.
Fruiting body attached directly to calyx. Bracts (leaf-like structures) present directly under fruit.
Photo © Sam Kieschnick, CC BY 4.0.
Fruiting body separated from the calyx (sepals) by a short stem. No bracts (leaf-like structures) under fruit.
Photo © Will Kuhn, CC BY 4.0.
Fruit averages larger. Fruit styles (long, hooked appendages attached to fruit) are much longer (2–8mm)
Photo © Sam Kieschnick, CC BY 4.0.
Fruit averages smaller. Fruit styles are much shorter (1.5–3mm)
Photo © Alex Zorach, CC BY-SA 4.0.