#504 Wood Avens … or is it?

This is very interesting. Initially we identified this plant as Wood Avens (Geum urbanum) and I believe that is not an unlikely proposal … certainly Geum sp. However, after posting the images on iNaturalist I received the comment from a botanist professionally well familiar with the genus to say “Looks sterile and the stipules not very large. Could be the hybrid Geum x catlingii”.

This Geum × catlingii, or Catling’s avens, is known from eastern Canada, where it arises from natural hybridization between the native G. canadense Jacq. (That’s the white avens) and the introduced G. urbanum L (the yellow avens). It is named after Paul M. Catling, the botanist who first observed the hybrid.

Geum ×catlingii is a hybrid taxon, and as such exhibits variable morphology. However, several characters in combination help distinguish it from other Geum species:

  • Hybrid vigor – hybrids tend to be larger than parents
  • Petals are creamy-yellow – intermediate between dark yellow (G. urbanum) and white (G. canadense).
  • Intermediate stem bract size
  • Highly sterile ovaries

It has been noted to bloom throughout the summer, after other species have shed their petals

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