Small-Flowered Agrimony, Harvestlice Agrimony, Swamp Agrimony, and Harvestlice
Synonyms of Agrimonia parviflora (6) (Updated on 5-2-21): Agrimonia eupatoria var. parviflora (Aiton) Hook., Agrimonia eupatoria var. suaveolens (Pursh) Kuntze, Agrimonia polyphylla Urb., Agrimonia serrifolia Wallr., Agrimonia suaveolens Pursh, Eupatorium parviflorum (Aiton) Nieuwl.
Agrimonia parviflora Aiton is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Agrimonia. It was named and described by William Aiton in Hortus Kewensis in 1789.
The genus, Agrimonia L., was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 21 accepted species of Agrimonia (as of 5-2-21 when I last updated this page). Agrimonia is a member of the plant family Rosaceae with 105 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made.
The distribution map above for the Agrimonia parviflora is from Plants of the World Online. Areas in green are where the plant is native and purple where it has been introduced. The USDA Plants Database is similar but doesn’t include a few states… The species could have a wider range than what the maps show.
There are a few species of Agrimonia in Missouri, but the leaves easily distinguish Agrimonia parviflora from the others. The common name is Swamp Agrimony, Small-Flowered Agrimony, Harvestlice Agrimony, and Harvestlice. There are seven or so species in the US with three being described on the Missouriplants.com website. Agrimonia parviflora is found in at least 32 states in the United States. Out of all the species, Agrimonia parviflora is considered to be the most noxious.
THERE ARE A FEW LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND BETTER PLANT ID.
I found this plant growing near the swampy area at the northeast corner of the farm a few years ago but 2019 was the first year I saw its flowers. Flowers are the first thing you need for when looking for a positive ID on wildflower databases (well, most of them). I was very happy when I saw flowers this year so I could make a positive ID.
The Swamp Agrimony is a very interesting plant. According to information online, they can grow from 2-around 6’ tall. They are sturdy plants with thick, stout, hairy stems that can be green, reddish-brown, or brownish-green. The hairs on the stems can be white or light brown.
As I mentioned, there are three species of Agromonia described on the Missouri Plants website, but only one with leaves like this. The leaves grow alternately along the stems and are somewhat difficult to explain. You can read information from the links below to get the technical descriptions. Once you have identified this plant, you can easily recognize it.
Origin: U.S. Native.
Zones: USDA Zones 4a-8b + (-30-15° F).
Size: 4-6’ PLUS.
Light: Sun to part shade.
Soil: Prefers consistently moist soil.
Water: Water regularly.
Although bees and certain flower flies feed on the nectar of the flowers, most mammals avoid this plant due to its bitter taste. Certain birds use Agrimony in their nests to keep away parasites such as lice and mites because of its foul aroma and taste. Flowers give way to bur-like seed capsules that cling to the fur of animals.
Even though considered a noxious plant, its burs were used by Native Americans for diarrhea and to reduce fever. The roots can be pulverized and have been used to increase red blood cell count, a gastrointestinal aid, a topical treatment for skin issues, and as a dietary aid.
The above photo shows young plants growing in the swampy area in the back of the farm on April 11, 2020.
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. My farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and most have pages listed on the right side of the blog. I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing, and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a few horticulturalists I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES*)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
LADY BIRD JOHNSON WILDFLOWER CENTER
KANSAS NATIVE PLANTS
PFAF (PLANTS FOR A FUTURE)
WILDFLOWERS OF THE UNITED STATES
NOTE: The figures may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates (and if they update their sources or even read what they say). Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates at least once a year and when I write new pages but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂
*World Flora Online incorrectly indicates the accepted species name is Agrimonia parviflora Sol. with Daniel Solander as the author of Hortus Kewensis… William Aiton wrote the first volume in 1789 where he named the species, so it is correctly Agrimonia parviflora Aiton…