Large Leaved Avens

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Large Leaved Avens, BC Coastal Region
Large Leaved Avens, Photo By Bud Logan

The Large Leaved Avens plant is a hairy perennial with short rhizomes and big leaves topped by small yellow flowers. This plant grows all over the southern BC coast and all the gulf islands.

This hairy herb can reach heights of about 1 meter. It has basal leaves that are long-stalked, with kidney-shaped terminal segments many times larger than the several leaflets below, the stem leaves are few, stalkless or nearly so and deeply lobed with a light green color.

The flowers are round shaped with petals that are 6mm long in small clusters at the tips of the branches and they are a bright yellow color. They flower in May and June. The fruits are clusters of short hairy achenes that have elongate styles with an s shape at the tip that allows it to cling to any rough surface like fur or clothing, they are about 1 cm diameter in size and a brownish-green color.

The Pacific Northwest peoples had numerous medicinal uses for the leaves and roots. They would crush the leaves to make a poultice for wounds and would steep the leaves for a tea to dull stomach pain. The leaves were chewed during labor to lessen the pain and leaves were chewed after to speed uterus healing. The roots were also boiled to make a steam bath to treat rheumatism.

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