Stems 2-4 dm from a short, stout rhizome, hairy throughout; basal lvs 1-2 dm, oblanceolate, pinnately compound; lfls 7-17, the lateral progressively larger toward the lf-tip, cuneate-oblong, to 5 cm, irregularly laciniate or lobed, the terminal one similar but wider, often confluent with the upper lateral ones and scarcely larger than them; cauline lvs few and small, laciniate; peduncles eventually to 1 dm; fls nodding, broad-based, narrowed distally in life; sep shorter than the linear bractlets; pet purplish, 8-12 mm, about equaling the bractlets, suberect; mature styles 3-5 cm, strongly plumose except the terminal 2-5 mm; 2n=42. Dry woods and prairies; w. N.Y. to Minn. and Io., w. to B.C. and Calif. May, June. Our plants are var. triflorum. (Sieversia t.)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
General: Perennial, 15-40 cm tall; stems erect, nearly scapose; herbage pilose-hirsute throughout; caudex thick, scaly, branched, forming matted clumps. Leaves: Basal and cauline (1 pair, opposite), blades oblanceolate in outline, pinnately lobed, becoming somewhat pinnatifid above, leaflets 9-19, 13-22 mm long, deeply cleft into linear segments, ultimate margins toothed, cauline blades much reduced, borne along the middle of the stem; stipules leaf-like, margins entire to toothed; basal blades long-petiolate, cauline blades shortly petiolate. Flowers: Inflorescence a cyme, 4-9 flowered, the flowers more-or- less erect, borne on long pedicels; hypanthium more-or- less discoid; sepals reflexed at time of flowering, 2.8-6 mm long, finely and minutely tomentose within; petals spreading, obovate, 3.5-6.5 mm long, yellow; stamens numerous; flowers July-September. Fruits: Achene, numerous, pear-shaped, about 3 mm long; style jointed, the persistent lower portion 2-4 mm long, feathery, the deciduous upper portion 3.5-5.5 mm long, pale, hispid at the base. Ecology: Streambanks, meadows, pine forests, slopes, montane habitats; 1800-3000 m (6000-10000 ft); Apache, Coconino, Gila, Greenlee, and Navajo counties; central and western Canada, north-central, western, and southwestern U.S. Notes: Ours, as here described, is var. ciliatum. Geum rossii (Ross-s avens) is differentiated by glabrous or pubescent herbage; flowering stems bear numerous alternate leaves; flowers are erect; petals are 5-9 mm long, yellow; and the style is glabrous throughout, not greatly elongating in fruit. It occurs in subalpine to alpine meadows and on scree slopes; in our area found on the San Francisco Peaks. Ours is var. turbinatum [=G. turbinatum]. Geum triflorum is a highly drought-tolerant species with moderate shade and fire tolerance, and it can be propagated via seed and exposed root transplants. The plant has many medicinal uses, most commonly to treat pain and stiffness. Its feathery pinkish achenes make it a delightful addition to the rock garden. Editor: Springer et al. 2008