COMMON STORK'S-BILL

Erodium cicutarium

Crane's-bill (Geranium) Family [Geraniaceae]

month8apr month8april month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8bicolour
flower
flower8mauve
inner
inner8orange
inner
inner8indigo
morph
morph8hemizygo
petals
petalsZ5
stem
stem8round
sex
sexZbisexual

26th Aug 2004, Llandudno, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
Unlike Sticky Stork's-bill which grows on coastal dunes, Common Stork's-bill grows on dry grassy and sandy places, especially near the sea. A sprawling mass, to 60cm high.


5th July 2007, Lytham St. Annes, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Unlike Sticky Stork's-bill the leaves are not as sticky as those of Sticky Stork's-bill and only a few sand grains might adhere to them. Also, the stork's bills are longer here (bottom right).


14th June 2011, Southport dunes, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Unlike Sticky Stork's-bill where only 2-4 flowers are in a cluster, Common Stork's-bill manages between 3-7 in an umbel. Here there are 5, so, ipso facto, it isn't Sticky Stork's-bill. Leaves very fine, almost fern-like.


14th June 2011, Southport dunes, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Five pink-purple almost elliptical petals (Sticky Stork's-bill's petals are paler, more lilac). Anthers without pollen are an indigo colour.


23rd April 2011, Southport dunes, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Flowers between 10 and 18mm across (Sticky Stork's-bill's flowers are smaller at 7-10mm across). It is frequently mentioned that two of the upper petals of some flowers have a black spot near the base. Here one flower has four, the other two, but many have none at all. This makes the flower not actinomorphic, but hemi-zygomorphic, or slightly bi-laterally symmetric. Pollen, when present, is a dark orange colour.


31st May 2007, Walney Island, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
True to type, these two specimens have dark spots near the base of the two upper (shorter) petals. Deep orange pollen.


23rd April 2011, Southport dunes, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Only 5 stamens have pollen on Stork's-bills (10 stamens do on Crane's-bills). Here the pollen is an unusual an deep orange. Dark spots on two petals appear speckled in character. The petals on Common Stork's-bill are often un-equal in size (not so on Sticky Stork's-bill). [Springbeauty lurks behind].


31st May 2007, Walney Island, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The stork's bills, when ripe, bend backwards into a S-shape. Sepals striped. Stems tend to redden un-like those of Sticky Stork's-bill.


18th June 2019, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The sepals are translucent white apart from 3 to 5 green stripes, the central stipe going to the hair at the tip. The hairs on the flower stalks are few and either appressed or out-stretched, but usually with a curve.


18th June 2019, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
This specimen is at its minimum number of flowers in an umbel for Common Stork's-bill, three.


18th June 2019, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The flowers of Common Stork's-bill are usually > 10mm across (whilst those of Sticky Stork's=bill < 10mm across). Your Author doesn't quite know why he had to pick this specimen which has wrinkly petals and lacking in spots on two petals - out of dozens which did not. Maybe they have only just before unfolded?


18th June 2019, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The styles of Storksbills have 5 stigmas. The anthers here are indigo (an as-yet unopened anther on the left) or white (opened anthers but it looks like there is no pollen on them).


19th April 2016, dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Reddish-scarlet pollen.


19th April 2016, dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The 5-lobed style is a purple-pink colour here.


19th April 2016, dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The sepals have semi-translucent edges and 3 (to 5) green veins.


19th April 2016, dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
These flowers have lost almost all their petals and gone to fruit (the object with 5 long-spikes at the top of the fruit)


19th April 2016, dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The anthers with pollen are here surrounding the developing fruit in the centre.


14th June 2011, Southport dunes, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Red-tipped sepals with supple spikes. Five flowers in this umbel.


14th June 2011, Southport dunes, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Leaves 2-pinnate and fern-like, but small.


19th April 2016, dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD


19th April 2016, dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD


19th April 2016, dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD


19th April 2016, dunes, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are deeply cut into leaflets. Tips of the leaflets tend to redden, and have a hair at the tip. Leaves have a smattering of fine non-sticky hairs, as do the stems.


Easily mistaken for : Sticky Stork's-bill but that is shorter and always has dense glandular hairs which are patent (stick outwards) and are sticky to which sand-grains, if they are about (they usually are) stick, amongst many other differences mentioned in the captions above. However, Common Stork's-bill may also have glandular hairs and/or eglandular hairs!!

Flower (alone) looks similar to: Rock Sea-Spurrey, another similarly coloured 5-petalled flower that grows near the sea, but gets rather closer to the sea than does Common Stork's-bill. The leaves are totally different.

Hybridizes with : Sticky Stork's-bill (Erodium lebelii) to produce Erodium × anaristatum which is sterile and lacks the stork's-bills, and the flowers tend to be absent.

No relation to : Sticky Mouse-ear, Sticky Catchfly nor to Sticky Groundsel [plants with similar names].

Habitat includes dry grassy and sandy places, especially on alkaline soils and near the sea.


  Erodium cicutarium  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Geraniaceae  

Distribution
 family8Cranesbill (Geranium) family8Geraniaceae
 BSBI maps
genus8Erodium
Erodium
(Stork's-bills)

COMMON STORK'S-BILL

Erodium cicutarium

Crane's-bill (Geranium) Family [Geraniaceae]

WildFlowerFinder Homepage