One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A plant of the rose family, typically having serrated, divided leaves and seeds bearing small hooks. Several kinds are grown in gardens.
Genus Geum, family Rosaceae: several species, including the widespread water avens (G. rivale), with drooping pinkish flowers, and the mat-forming alpine avens (G. montanum)
- ‘In a study on Devon Island, just south of Ellesmere, the hares fed mainly on Arctic willow in winter, supplemented in summer with Arctic avens, grasses and sedges.’
- ‘Among the wildflowers are a red columbine, aster, figwort, wild sarsaparilla, fleabane, and avens.’
- ‘The line feeds into dead-end lane, with verges pink with nodding water avens, and finally, another batch of buttercup meadows where every golden head faced west to the sinking sun.’
- ‘Along with a heavy ground cover of soft mosses are horsetails and such wildflowers as Ross's avens, bluebells, sweet coltsfoot, a grass-of-Parnassus, a fleabane, and various sedges.’
Middle English: from Old French avence ( medieval Latin avencia), of unknown origin.
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