Thursday, 7 July 2016

Wood Avens or Herb Bennet

A very common and easily overlooked woodland plant is Herb Bennet or Wood Avens (Geum urbanum).

 It is quick to colonise the woodland floor after coppicing, and will also colonise your garden if you let it!  At first it looks insignificant but when you get close . . .

. . . the small yellow flowers are quite pretty.  They are a good nectar source for insects from May through to August.

The centre develops into seed capsules with those velcro-like hooks to stick to your socks, shoe-laces and your dog's fur.

This is the clever way that the plant distributes its seeds over a wide area.

'Herb Bennet' is a corruption of 'Herb Benedict'.  Apparently St Benedict, who founded the Benedictine order of monks, used it.  It was supposed to keep away devils, demons, and all manner of evil including flies and clothes moths.  

Modern herbalists still use it especially the allegedly clove-scented roots.  Try some in your wardrobe.

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