Plants and Animals

Geum virginianum Pale avens

Key Characteristics

Perennial forb of open oak woods; stem densely pubescent; leaves compound with three leaflets, the terminal leaflet much larger and coarsely toothed; flower petals yellow when fresh, small (2-5 mm).

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: T - Threatened (legally protected)
Global Rank: G5 - Secure
State Rank: S1S2 - Rank is uncertain, ranging from critically imperiled to imperiled


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Calhoun 2 2020
Cass 2 1963
Jackson 3 2022
Lenawee 1 1997
Livingston 2 1983
St. Joseph 1 1963
Washtenaw 4 2016
Wayne 1 1895

Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Found in openings and banks in woods.

Natural Community Types

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

Acer rubrum (red maple), Carex pensylvanica, Carya glabra (pignut hickory), C. ovata (shagbark hickory), Comandra umbellata (bastard-toadflax), Cornus foemina (gray dogwood), Crataegus spp. (hawthorns), Danthonia spicata (poverty grass), Elymus hystrix (bottlebrush grass), Erigeron pulchellus (Robin's-plantain), Galium boreale (northern bedstraw), G. pilosum (hairy bedstraw), Geum canadense (white avens), Hamamelis virginiana (witch-hazel), Helianthus divaricatus (woodland sunflower), Hieracium venosum (rattlesnake-weed), Juniperus virginiana (red-cedar), Liparis liliifolia (lily-leaved twayblade), Lysimachia quadrifolia (four-leaved loosestrife), Monarda fistulosa (wild-bergamot), Ostrya virginiana (ironwood), Paronychia canadensis (tall forked chickweed), Pedicularis canadensis (wood-betony), Phlox pilosa (prairie phlox), Poa compressa (Canada bluegrass), Prunus serotina (black cherry), Quercus alba (white oak), Q. velutina (black oak), Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed Susan), Sanicula canadensis (black snakeroot), Taenidia integerrima (yellow-pimpernel), Veronicastrum virginicum (Culver's root), Zanthoxylum americanum (prickly-ash).

Management Recommendations

Relatively little known of biology and ecology of this species in Michigan. The primary need at the present time is a status survey to compile better information on habitat requirements.

Survey Methods

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgment of the investigator.

  • Meander search

    • Survey Period: From first week of June to fourth week of July


Survey References

  • Elzinga, C.L., D.W. Salzer, and J.W. Willoughby. 1998. Measuring and Monitoring Plant Populations. The Nature Conservancy and Bureau of Land Management, Denver. BLM Technical Reference 1730-1. 477pp.
  • Goff, G.F., G.A. Dawson, and J.J. Rochow. 1982. Site examination for Threatened and Endangered plant species. Environmental Management 6(4): 307-316
  • Nelson, J.R. 1984. Rare Plant Field Survey Guidelines. In: J.P. Smith and R. York. Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California. 3rd Ed. California Native Plant Society, Berkeley. 174pp.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1986. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques For Impact Assessment. Natural Areas Journal 5(3):18-30.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1987. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques for Impact Assessment. In: Conservation and management of rare and endangered plants. Ed. T.S. Elias. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento. 8pp.

Technical References

  • Deam, C. C. 1940. Flora of Indiana. Department of Conservation, Indianapolis. 1236pp.
  • Gleason, H. A., and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second edition. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. 910pp.
  • Gray, A. 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany; eighth ed. Van Nostrand Reinghold, New York. 1632pp.
  • Holmgren, N.H. 1998. Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the vascular plants of Northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. 937pp.
  • Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region, 4th ed. Indiana Academy of Science, Indianapolis. 921pp.
  • Voss, E. G. 1985. Michigan Flora. Part II. Dicots (Saururaceae-Cornaceae). Bulletin of the Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium. 724pp.