Geranium robertianum

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Geranium robertianum
Herb-Robert 800.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Geraniales
Family: Geraniaceae
Genus: Geranium
Species: G. robertianum
Binomial name
Geranium robertianum

Robertiella robertiana

Geranium robertianum, commonly known as Herb-Robert,[1] Red Robin, Death come quickly, Storksbill, Dove's Foot, Stinking Bob, Squinter-pip (Shropshire), 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.


The typical leaf structure

It grows as a procumbent to erect annual or biennial plant, up to fifty centimetres 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.[citation needed]


Its main area of distribution is Europe from the north Mediterranean coast to the Baltic and from the British Isles in the west to the Caucasus in the east.[4] 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. In the state of Washington, it is known as Stinky Bob and classified as a noxious weed.[5][6]

Geranium robertianum is common throughout Great Britain and Ireland in woodland, hedgerows, scree and maritime shingle.[2] It 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.[7]


In traditional herbalism, Herb Robert was used as a remedy for toothache and nosebleeds[8] and as a vulnerary (used for or useful in healing wounds).[9] The name has been explained as a reference to abbot and herbalist Robert of Molesme. 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.[9] 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.[citation needed]


  1. ^ BSBI List 2007, Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, archived from the original (xls) on 2015-01-25, 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, ISBN 9780521707725 
  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, ISBN 978-1408179505 
  4. ^ Anderberg, Arne, "Geranium robertianum L.", Den Virtuella Floran, Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Stockholm, Sweden 
  5. ^ WSNWCB (2005), p. 8
  6. ^ WSNWCB (2007)
  7. ^ Tofts, R.J. (2004), "Biological flora of the British isles No. 234 Geranium robertianum L", Journal of Ecology, 92 (3): 537–555, doi:10.1111/j.0022-0477.2004.00892.x 
  8. ^ Foster, Steven (2006), Desk Reference To Nature's Medicine, Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, pp. 210–11, ISBN 0-7922-3666-1 
  9. ^ a b Milliken, W.; Bridgewater, S. (2004), Flora Celtica, Edinburgh, U.K.: Birlinn Ltd., p. 221, ISBN 1841583030 


Geranium robertianum flower buds
Geranium robertianum

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