Stork’s Bill

Hello. My name is Stork’s Bill. I grow quite abundantly on this acre in Texas. I’m much smaller than I appear to be in this picture, which is a close-up enabling me to show off my features. My soft, pretty pinkish leaves, my striped sepals with their interesting tips, and my deeply-colored stamens with their anthers richly covered in pollen.

Here is a picture that shows that the pollen has all been taken up by my bee-friends. My BFFs, my bee-friends foraging.

Why am I called Stork’s Bill? Because my seed pods are shaped in a way that people consider reminiscent of an actual stork’s bill. You can see them in this picture.

I come from the Geranium family (Geraniaceae), whose name originated with the Greek word geranos meaning ‘crane.’ Some people like to call me Cranesbill as well, but Cranesbill can refer to others also, so here I am sticking with Stork’s Bill.

My technical name is Erodium cicutarium. The first word refers to ‘heron’, and the second means ‘resembling the Cicuta’, which is Poison Hemlock. A very important thing to keep in mind, since the Poison Hemlock lives up to its name and is quite poisonous. I, on the other hand, am quite friendly and even edible. My flowers can be eaten raw. My leaves are best eaten when young, and can either be enjoyed raw or cooked. My leaves have been used in teas as a medicinal herb which has been used as a diuretic, a hemostatic and a bath soak for rheumatism. I even have something good for the kids – my roots can be chewed as a sweet gum.

But it’s very important not to confuse me with the Poison Hemlock when I’m young, before I’ve begun blossoming. You can tell by checking the stems. My stems will be hairy and the Poison Hemlock’s is smooth. Be careful!

My entire body can be used to make a green dye. Yes, I keep myself very busy and useful, I am definitely not a couch potato.

I have a spring mechanism that I use to launch my seeds. According to the humidity, my spiral-shaped awns can be either wound or unwound.

This was me when I was a baby. Wasn’t I adorable!?

My ancestors are from Spain. They migrated to the Mediterranean, then eventually to the U.S. In Texas, I am active from February to June.

Here I am when I was growing up.

Website Resources:

Green Deane’s Eat The Weeds website

Wickipedia Article

Plants For A Future database

Montana’s Plant Life website

Book Resources:

Wildflowers of Texas by Geyeta Ajilvsgi

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