Erodium cicutarium, also known as common stork’s-bill, Redstem filaree, Redstem stork’s bill or Pinweed, is an herbaceous annual – or in warm climates, biennial – member of the family Geraniaceae of flowering plants. It is native to Macaronesia, temperate Eurasia and north and northeast Africa, and was introduced to North America in the eighteenth century, where it has since become naturalized, particularly of the deserts and arid grasslands of the southwestern United States
It is a hairy, sticky annual, resembling herb Robert but lacking the unpleasant odor. The stems are reddish and bear bright pink flowers, which often have dark spots on the bases. The flowers are arranged in a loose cluster and have ten filaments – five of which are fertile – and five styles. The leaves are pinnate to pinnate-pinnatifid, with hairy stems. The long seed-pod, shaped like the bill of a stork, bursts open in a spiral when ripe, sending the seeds (which have long tails called awns) into the air.
Their flowering time is from May to October depending on your location. Here in South Africa, it flowers from June to October.
The plant is widespread across North America. It grows annually in the continent’s northern half. In the southern areas of North America, the plant tends to grow as a biennial with a more erect habit and with much larger leaves, flowers, and fruits. Common stork’s-bill can be found in bare, sandy, grassy places both inland and around the coasts. It is a food plant for the larvae of the brown argus butterfly.
The seeds of this annual are a species collected by various species of harvester ants.
You can find the Redstem Stork’s-bill in disturbed fields, gardens, yards, sandy areas, roadsides, harbors, and rubbish tips
The young leaves are edible raw or cooked. The whole plant is reportedly edible with a flavor similar to sharp parsley if picked young. According to John Lovell’s Honey Plants of North America (1926), “the pink flowers are a valuable source of honey (nectar), and also furnish much pollen”. Among the Zuni people, a poultice of chewed root is applied to sores and rashes and an infusion of the root is taken for stomachache
This species is an important forage for domestic livestock, including cows, horses, and sheep. It is sometimes intentionally planted for this purpose.
Although intentionally planted in some areas, it is considered a noxious weed in others.
The flowers are a source of nectar for honey.
- Location: Durbanville Nature Reserve, Durbanville, South Africa
- Date Taken: 2020-10-25
- Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
- Lens: Canon Zoom Lens EF-S 18-200 mm 3-5.6 IS
- Exposure Program: Manual
- Image Quality: RAW
- F-Stop: f/5.6
- Exposure Time: 1/160 sec
- ISO Speed: ISO-100
- Focal Length: 200 mm
- Metering Mode: Spot Metering
- Post Processing: Adobe Photoshop CS6
- Photographer: Coreen Kuhn
- Information: PlantZAfrica.com
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