Geum triflorum
Common Name: prairie smoke 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Northern North America
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 0.50 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: Reddish pink to purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil


Best grown in dry, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade and prefers some afternoon shade in hot summers. Prefers cool summer climates. May be grown in medium moisture, well-drained soils, but often will die out if subjected to wet winter soil conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Geum triflorum is a North American native prairie plant. Perhaps its most distinguishing feature is not the reddish pink to purplish, nodding, globular flowers that bloom in late spring, but the fruiting heads which follow. As the flower fades and the seeds begin to form, the styles elongate (to 2" long) to form upright, feathery gray tails which collectively resemble a plume or feather duster, all of which has given rise to a large number of regional descriptive common names for this plant such as torch flower, long-plumed purple avens, prairie smoke, lion's beard and old man's whiskers. The feathery seed tails act as sails in aiding dispersal of the seeds. A soft, hairy plant growing typically to 16" tall with fern-like, pinnately divided, green leaves (7-19 leaflets). Spreads by rhizomes and can be naturalized to form an interesting ground cover. Native Americans once boiled the roots to produce a root tea that was used medicinally for a variety of purposes such as wound applications and sore throat treatments.

Genus name is the classical Latin name of the group.

Specific epithet means three-flowered.


No serious insect or disease problems. Root rot can be a problem in poorly drained soils, particularly in winter.


Mass on a prairie, meadow, native plant garden, rock garden, or naturalized area. Also can be grown in the border front.