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Erodium cicutarium - Common Stork's-bill

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Geraniales - Family: Geraniaceae

Common Storksbill, France

Description

Common Stork's-bill is very variable in appearance but this branching hairy annual has leaves that are divided into paired deeply-lobed leaflets. The five-petalled pinkish-mauve to pale purple flowers, typically 10 to 18mm across, grow in loose, long-stalked clusters of 2 to 12. (We find them with clusters of three flowers more often than anything else.)

The flowers are followed by a fruit with an elongated 'beak' - the 'stork's bill' - which splits into five segments when ripe.

Leaves of Common Storksbill

Habitat

This wildflower favours dry, grassy places and wasteland, especially on chalk; it is also found on coastal dunes (as in the photograph above).

Flowers of Erodium cicutarium, Common Stork's-bill, Wales

The common name stork's-bill refers to the sharp, beak-like shape of the seeds, which appear once the flowers have died back.


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