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Chap. 042. Of Wild or Mountain Avens.

Avens, Mountain. I. The Names. They are called in Latin, Caryophyllata agrestis, Caryophyllata montana; and in English, Wild or Mountain Avens. The Epithet Wild is put to these, to distinguish them from the former, which are never called Wild; for tho' they grow Wild in Fields and Woods, yet it is always near home, and besides, they are many times Nursed up in Gardens, which these are never, except as meer Rarities.

II. The Kinds. There are several Kinds of Mountain Avens, but those growing in our Country chiefly, are,

  • 1. Caryophyllata montana purpurea, as Gerard calls it: Or Montana palustris purpurea, as Parkinson: also Aquatica nutante flore, and Aquatica flore rubro striato, by the Bauhins; Purple Mountain Avens, or Water Avens. (Geum rivale. -Henriette.)
  • 2. Caryophyllata flore amplo purpureo, Avens with a large double flower. (Geum rivale. -Henriette.)
  • 3. Caryophyllata Chamaedryos folio, as Morison calls it: Chamaedris spuria montana Cistiflore, as Parkinson: Alpina Cistiflore, and Alpina flore fragrariae albo, as the Bauhins: Teucrum Alpinum Cistiflore, as Gerard; Mountain Avens with Germander Leaves.(Dryas octopetala. -Henriette.)
  • 4. Caryophyllata Pentaphyllaea, as Bauhin and Parkinson: Alpina Pentaphyllaea, as Gerard: and Alpina quinquefolia (Geum caryophyllata -> Geum urbanum? Potentilla? -Henriette.), as Caspar Bauhin; Cinquefoil Avens. To which add,
  • 5. Caryophyllata Montana Virginiensis, Virginia Mountain Avens. (Geum? -Henriette.)
  • 6. Caryophyllata montana flore magno luteo, Mountain Avens with a great yellow flower. (Geum? -Henriette.)

III. The Descriptions. 1. Purple, or Water Mountain Avens. It has a Root about a Fingers thickness, with many Strings or Fibres thereat, from whence rises up many long and hairy Leaves, composed of divers little Leaves, with larger at the top, and these snipt or dented about the edges, like as the Common Avens: among these Leaves rise up several Stalks, a Foot or more in height, on which grow Flowers, whose Heads hang down: the tops of the Stalks, and Cups of the Flowers, are commonly of a purplish Yellow, but the Flowers scarcely appear above the Husks that contain them : These Flowers themselves are of a pretty Red Colour, and are of divers shapes, and grow divers ways: (which is the reason that Clusius, and some others, have judged them to be several Plants, giving the Flowers here exprest for a differing kind.) For some of these Flowers, even the greatest part of them grow with five Red, round pointed Leaves, which never lye fair open, but only stand straight out, the middle part being filled with a hairy matter, and yellowish Threads: Some of these Flowers consist of Seven, Eight, Nine, or more Leaves, and some again lye wholly open, with Green Leaves, growing close under the Cup of the Flower; and some few now and then may be found composed of a great many little Leaves, thick thrust together, making a very double Flower: after the Flowers are fallen come such hairy Heads, as you see in the Figure, and in other Plants of this Kind, among which lies the Seed.

IV. 2. Avens with a large double purple Flower. Tho’ some make this to be a different Kind from the last, yet doubt less it is not, but is one of the sportings of Nature, wherein she acts variously in one and the same Plant; and therefore the Description of the last may fully serve for this, there being in truth no variation but in the Flower, as we have in the former, above, already declared.

V. 3. Mountain Avens with Germander Leaves. It has a long, thick, hard, woody Root, with many Sprigs or Strings growing from it, and spreading under ground, of a brown blackish colour from whence spring up several hard, woody Stalks, eight or nine Inches long, spread upon the Earth, of a brown, reddish colour, which have Leaves growing upon them without any order, like to Germander Leaves, but lesser, harder, more wrinkled, and sawing like indented on the edges, of a White Hony colour below or underneath, and of a blackish Green colour above, having an astringent Taste. The Flowers are White, and each Flower stands upon a slender hairy Foot-stalk, about three or four Inches long, twice as big as a Strawberry Flower, and consisting of six Leaves apiece, or more, in the middle of which is a Thrummy Head, of a small hairy substance, which being fallen, there succeeds little Downy Feathered Heads, not much unlike to those of the Pasque-flower, with an oblong Seed, of a Sad Red Colour. And the bottoms of the Flowers are sustained, as it were, with narrow oblong hairy Leaves.

VI. 4. Cinquefoil Avens. It has a Root composed of many tough Strings, of a brownish Colour, and smelling somewhat like to the former Kinds, from whence rises up Leaves divided into five parts like unto Cinquefoil, dented about the edges, and having Stalks about a Foot high, having such like Leaves thereon, at the Joints where it branches forth: at the tops whereof stand Pale Yellow Flowers, like those of the Common Avens, but smaller, with many Yellower Threads, somewhat Downy in the middle.

VII. 5. Mountain Avens of Virginia. This is wholly like to the Purple Avens, first described in this Chapter, but it is taller and larger than that, almost in every respect, and scarcely differing in any thing else; and it yields flat, thin, blackish Seed in Husk.

VIII. 6. Mountain Avens, with great yellow Flowers. This has a thick, long, brownish round Root, of the bigness of ones Finger, creeping under the upper crust of the Earth, not altogether so stringy as the Common, described in Chap. 41. Sect. 3. aforegoing, but having some small Fibres shoooting downwards in several places, and Smelling and Tasting like to Cloves, or those of the first Common sort; from whence comes forth divers winged Leaves, made of many small Leaves towards the bottom, standing on both sides of the Rib, the end Leaves being largest and whole, not divided, but somewhat deeply dented, or cut in on the edges, of a fresher green colour likewise, softer also and gentler in handling, than those of the Common-Kind: from among which rise up slender Stalks, seldom branched, having very few Leaves thereon, at the Tops whereof stands usually one Flower apiece, and sometimes more, made for the most part like those of the Common sort, consisting of five or six Leaves, much larger than those, and of a deeper Yellow Colour, and sometimes with a White Flower, as Camerarius in horto says, tending to redness, having many Yellow Threads in the middle, compassing a Green Head, which when the Flower is past, increases to be a round Head, beset with flat Seeds, not so rough, or ready to stick to ones Cloths, but everyone of them having a long Feather-like Hair or Thread at the end. The whole Plant, as well Leaves as Flowers and Seed, are covered with a small soft hairy Down, which, is not much, or easie to be discerned, unless one takes good notice thereof, or heeds it very well.

IX. The Places. The first of these are found, by Water Sides in Wet or Marsh Grounds on the Mountains in Northern Mountainous Places in England, as about Settle and Ingleton, &c. also in Wales, about Snowden Hill, &c. and in divers other places. The second has been found near Strickland magnum in Westmorland. The third is found in several of the Alpine Mountains; and in Ireland, on the Mountains between Gort and Galloway. The fourth was found by Pena on the Rhetian Alps near Clatena, who at first took it to be a kind of Cinquefoil, but by the Smell and Taste, found it to be Avens: it has been found in the Den of Bethaick in Scotland. The fifth grows in Virginia, Carolina, and other parts of Florida, and is only nourished up with us in Gardens. The sixth is found upon divers Mountains, as on Coronos in Bohemia, by the Springs of the River Albis, as Matthiolus says, and upon Mount Baldus, as Pena says, and in many other places. Bauhinus found it in Mount Braulium of the Rhetians; and Clusius on the Ridges of the Highest Alps, not everywhere, but amongst Grass and Shrubs; but with us it is chiefly nourished up in Gardens.

X. The Times. They Flower from the beginning of May, to the end of July, and their Seed is ripe in August, or not long after.

XI. The Qualities. These are all generally of a Nature, and have the same Qualities and Virtues. They are hot and dry in the second Degree: They incide, attenuate, open, cleanse, discuss, resolve, expel Wind are Astringent, Vulnerary, and resist Poison: and are appropriated to the Head, Nerves, Heart, Stomach, Liver, Spleen, Womb, and Joints.

XII. The Specification. They have a peculiar property in curing Wounds and Ulcers, opening all sorts of Obstructions, drying up Catarrhs, and stopping preternatural Fluxes of the Bowels.

XIII. The Preparations. The Shops keep nothing of them; but yon may have from their Roots, (which are chiefly in use)

  • 1.A Pouder of the Root.
  • 2. A Decoction.
  • 3. A Wine.
  • 4. A Juice.
  • 5. An Essence.
  • 6. A Spirituous Tincture.
  • 7. A Saline Tincture.
  • 8. An Oily Tincture.
  • 9. An Ointment.
  • 10. A Balsam.
  • 11. A Cataplasm.
  • 12. A mixture for callous Ulcers.

The Virtues.

XIV. The Virtues of all these Mountain Avens, are the same with those of the Common Avens and are applied to all the same Diseases, and differ in nothing but the degree of their strength, force, or efficacy; for that these Wild or Mountain Avens, are much stronger than the Common Kinds, and operate more powerfully, speedily and effectually than they can possibly do: and therefore, the Virtues and Uses of the several Preparations aforenamed, are the same with those of the Common Avens before declared in Chap. 41, Sect. 10. to Sect 21. to which you are referred.


Botanologia, or The English Herbal, was written by William Salmon, M.D., in 1710.
This chapter has been proofread by Nick Jones.



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