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Geranium robertianum

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Title: Geranium robertianum  
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Geranium robertianum

Geranium robertianum
Herb Robert
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Geraniales
Family: Geraniaceae
Genus: Geranium
Species: G. robertianum
Binomial name
Geranium robertianum

Geranium robertianum, (syn. Robertiella robertiana) commonly known as Herb-Robert,[1] Red Robin, Death come quickly, Storksbill, Dove's Foot, Crow's Foot, or (in North America) Robert Geranium, is a common species of cranesbill native to Europe and parts of Asia, North America, and North Africa.


  • Description 1
  • Distribution 2
  • Uses 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


It grows as a procumbent to erect annual or biennial plant, up to 50cm high, producing small, pink, five-petalled flowers (8-14 mm in diameter)[2] from April until the autumn. The leaves are deeply dissected, ternate to palmate,[2][3] and the stems often reddish; the leaves also turn red at the end of the flowering season. The plant has little root structure.


It is common throughout Great Britain and Ireland in woodland, hedgerows, scree and maritime shingle.[2] Its main area of distribution is western Europe from the north Mediterranean coast to the Baltic.[2] It has been introduced into many other temperate parts of the world, probably through its use as an ornamental plant, such as in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Geranium robertianum grows at altitudes from sea level to 710 metres (2,329 ft) in Teesdale, England and above 2,100 metres (6,890 ft) in parts of mainland Europe on calcareous alpine screes.[4]

In the state of Washington, it is known as Stinky Bob and classified as a noxious weed.(WSNWCB 2005, p. 8)(WSNWCB 2007)


In traditional herbalism, Herb Robert was used as a remedy for toothache and nosebleeds[5] and as a vulnerary(used for or useful in healing wounds.) [6] Freshly picked leaves have an odor resembling burning tires when crushed, and if they are rubbed on the body the smell is said to repel mosquitoes.[6] The active ingredients are tannins, a bitter compound called geraniin, and essential oils. It was carried to attract good luck, and due to its analogical association with storks, to enhance fertility.


  1. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  2. ^ a b c Stace, C.A. (2010). New flora of the British isles (Third ed.). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. p. 348.  
  3. ^ Blamey, M.; Fitter, R.; Fitter, A (2003). Wild flowers of Britain and Ireland: The Complete Guide to the British and Irish Flora. London: A & C Black. p. 174.  
  4. ^ Tofts, R.J. (2004). "Biological flora of the British isles No. 234 Geranium robertianum L.". Journal of Ecology 92: 537–555.  
  5. ^ Foster, Steven (2006). Desk Reference To Nature's Medicine. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society. pp. 210–11.  
  6. ^ a b Milliken, W.; Bridgewater, S. (2004). Flora Celtica. Edinburgh, U.K.: Birlinn Ltd. p. 221.  
  • Isabell Shipard (2003), How can I use HERBS in my daily life? 
  • Peter Loewer (1991), The Wild Gardener 
  • WSNWCB (2005), Selected Noxious Weeds of Washington State, Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board 
  • WSNWCB (2007-03-31), "Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)", Written Findings of the State Noxious Weed Control Board - Class B - B-designate Weed (State of Washington) 
Geranium robertianum flower buds
Geranium robertianum

External links

  • Images at Bioimages (UK)
  • Species treatment from the Jepson Manual
  • Entry in the Plants for a Future database
  • Geranium robertianumUSDA plants Profile:
  • "Geranium robertianum".  
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