Watercolour drawing of Water Avens by Clarence Bicknell

Clarence Bicknell’s painting is from his Book of Guests in Esperanto opposite the entry for Capi, his niece Nora’s dog.

Clarence Bicknell wrote a page in Esperanto about each visitor and decorated the page with a botanical drawing, often developing the guest’s initial into a monogram. The words translated read…

“Capi, my niece Nora’s black poodle who spends the summer in the mountains when she is in England. He sings wonderfully well, but never does any work.”

https://bit.ly/3csPxK1 for our page about Esperanto.

Water Avens (Geum rivale L., Family Rosaceae), (In Italian – Cariofillata dei rivi), grows along little brooks needing marshy and humid soils at altitude 100 to 2000 metres. It’s a perennial plant flowering from May to September. The flower looks like a little bell with its head down. Height 25-50 cm with 5 petals.

The name Geum comes from the Greek for “good taste”; in the rhizome of this plant there is an essence with a taste similar to cloves. So in North America is also known as ‘Indian chocolate’. In Italian Geum rivale is also called Blessed Grass as it helps the digestion. Rivale comes from Latin as it grows along little rivers, or could also come from rivalry between owners of neighbouring properties.

Elisabetta Massardo, October 2021

No.47 in our weekly series of Clarence Bicknell works.