Old Man’s Whiskers, also known as Purple Avens, is a perennial that is widespread at low to subalpine elevations. It has dense clusters of basal leaves that are divided into leaflets, and long hairy, mostly leafless stems with pinkish purple flowers.
|Height and Spread
|Up to 40 cm tall.
|Up to 25 cm spread.
|Pink to yellow petals and purplish sepals.
|April – June.
|Seeds mature in mid summer.
|Light and Water
|Grows best in open forests and grasslands.
|Grows in dry conditions, most often gravelly soils.
|Old Man’s Whiskers were used by the Okanagan peoples to prepare an infusion to treat yeast infections.
|Old Man’s Whiskers provide limited grazing value to wild sheep and deer, with some evidence suggesting it is minorly grazed in the winter.
|Old Man’s Whiskers is considered by many to be a very beautiful plant. It’s combination of feathery leaves, bright flowers, and large hairy seed heads make it desirable for garden settings.
|Another name for Old Man’s Whiskers is Prairie Smoke, due to the texture of the leaves making an area appear ‘smoky’ when growing thickly.
|Old Man’s Whiskers is generally propagated by seed.