categoryZUnderShrubs UnderShrubs List 
categoryZBroadleaf Broadleaf List 
categoryZDeciduous Deciduous List 

MOUNTAIN AVENS

Dryas octopetala

Rose Family [Rosaceae]

Flowers:
month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july

Pappus: pappusZpossible (long, hair's-tail, maroon + white, feathered)
pappus8jul pappus8july pappus8aug pappus8sep pappus8sept

category
category8UnderShrubs
 
category
category8Broadleaf
 
category
category8Deciduous
 
status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8white
 
inner
inner8yellow
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ8
(7-10)
stem
stem8round
 
rarity
rarityZscarce
 
sex
sexZbisexual
 

4th June 2013, Bavaria. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
Flowers a little like those of Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa) (which is in a differing Family, that of Buttercup) but usually with 8 rather than 6 petals. A short plant up to 10cm tall.


4th June 2013, Bavaria. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
Flowers do not droop like those of Wood Anemone but do have many yellow stamens with yellow anthers and pollen. Flowers solitary atop a thin hairy, brownish and woody stem.


4th June 2013, Bavaria. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
Petals white and slightly pointed.


4th June 2013, Bavaria. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
A bunch of yellow stamens with yellow anthers surrounds a bunched style with a knobbly yellow-green orb. This will turn into a 'pappus' consisting of a hare-'s-tail of marroon-coloured ribs supporting a feathery embrace of whitish hairs, not dis-similar to those found on Water Avens (Geum rivale) but longer and without the hooked burrs. The seeds attached to the far end of each 'feather' are then carried off by any wind when ripe.


4th June 2013, Bavaria. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
Leaves shaped like those of Betony (Betonica officinalis), but none are attached to the stem, all around the base at ground level. Oval with well-rounded teeth (crenate). Uppermost surface dark-green and glossy, lower surface light-green and velvety.


Not to be semantically confused with : other Avens belonging to the same family, but in a differing genus.

Slight resemblance to : Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa) but that is in a differing family, that of Buttercup (Ranunculaceae) and has only 6 white petals and a similar proliferation of yellow stamens.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

In the UK, this is the only plant in the Dryas genera, but in the World there are three or four others. The Dryas genus is no named because seeds of the plant are found extensively in fossilised remains from both the Younger Dryas and the Older Dryas periods typified by cold temperatures.

Mountain Avens is related to Wood Avens (Geum urbanum), Water Avens (Geum urbanum) in that it is in the Rose Family (Rosaceae) but is not in the same genus. It is quite rare, found only in limestone areas of the North Pennines, and Scottish mountains, and in the Burren in Ireland. Further north it survives at sea level. It prefers shallow grassly ledges on limestone outcrops, and loves the cold, hating warmth.

Going counter to the usual number of five petals for members of the Rose Family the petal count usually numbers eight (hence the scientific name octopetala, meaning eight petals). The number of petals varies between 7 and 10 and can be up to 16.

It is a woody undershrub with short horizontal rooting branches. It is grown as a rock-garden plant The seeds are in a kind of feathery pappus which is spread by the wind when ripe.


  Dryas octopetala  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Rosaceae  

Distribution
 family8Rose family8Rosaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Dryas
Dryas
(Mountain Avens)

MOUNTAIN AVENS

Dryas octopetala

Rose Family [Rosaceae]