Edible Wild Plants: Purple Avens / Water Avens (Geum Rivale)

Purple Avens / Water Avens (Geum Rivale)It is hardy to zone 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to September, and the seeds ripen from Jun to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, self.The plant is self-fertile.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist or wet soil.

It has an aromatic root and an orange-purple flower about an inch across. The purplish root is used in making a beverage used as a substitute for cocoa. The plant is sometimes called Chocolate Root from its color and use.

Mrs. H. K. Morrell, writing upon edible wild plants of Maine, states that the “root when boiled makes a drink like chocolate” and Prest, writing from Nova Scotia, makes a similar statement adding that, although the drink has a chocolate-taste, it is astringent, with a slight addition of acid.

The root should be well boiled and sugar added.

Edible Parts

  • Roots


Tea or Chocolate Drink

The dried or fresh root can be boiled in water to make a delicious chocolate-like drink. It can also be used as a seasoning. It is best harvested in the spring or autumn but can be used all year round. Fragrant, it was once used to flavour ales.

It is also called Chocolate Root or Indian Chocolate because of this.

Medicinal Uses

The Water Avens has similar properties to those of the Common Avens and is employed in the same way, the root having tonic and powerfully astringent action and being beneficial in passive haemorrhage and diarrhoea.

In the eastern states of North America (where it is called Indian Chocolate, Cure All and Water Flower) it is much used as a popular remedy in pulmonary consumption, simple dyspepsia and diseases of the bowels consequent on disorders of the stomach, and is valued as a febrifuge and tonic.

Purple Avens / Water Avens (Geum Rivale)

Other Uses

The dried root repels moths.

Where Does Purple Avens / Water Avens (Geum Rivale) Grow?

Purple or Water Avens (Geum Rivale) Area Map

How To Identify Purple Avens / Water Avens (Geum Rivale)

Purple Avens / Water Avens (Geum Rivale) Diagram

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