Herb Robert, Geranium robertianum
Geraniaceae – geranium family.
The pointed seed pod of true geraniums resemble the bill of a crane (“geranos,” Greek for crane), thereby giving rise to the common and generic names. There are more than several “wild geraniums,” introduced and native, but Herb Robert of recent introduction from Europe, has become discomfortingly common in some native woodland settings. “Robert” may refer to the reddish (“ruber” in Latin) to violet flowers, or to Robert, Duke of Normandy.
The attractive foliage and flowers of Herb Robert are perhaps the reason the plant found its way to Oregon only several decades ago. Unfortunately for some native species, this geranium of about 12 inches in height grows rapidly and spreads readily by seeds. Herb Robert, as the name implies, has been used by herbalists for its reputed astringent and diuretic properties. Several other introduced and weedy geraniums are Carolina geranium (G. caolinianum), dovefoot geranium (G. molle), and cut-leaf geranium (G. dissectum). Like Herb Robert, they can be readily identified as true geraniums by the crane’s bill shape of the seed pod.
Information courtesy of “The View From Springbrook Park; an Illustrated Natural History” by Ed Chinn.
Photo by Laura Tanz
Sponsored by Friends of Springbrook Park; Lake Oswego, OR