Geum urbanum is a member of the genus Geum, a genus of hardy plants (Rosaceae). Not usually used decoratively, their five-parted flowers being borne singly at the ends of much-branching stems. The leaves are generally odd-pinnate, often with small leaflets scattered among larger ones. The style is persistent in the fruit and is often plumose, as in the purple avens (G. ciliatum), which has violet flowers. The white avens (G. canadense) has a prickly receptacle, as has the G. flavum. Among the most common species are the yellow G. strictum and the G. vernum, both found in shady, damp places.