Storksbill_jpgThis family (Geraniaceae) commonly called the Geranium Family consists of 14 genera and 730 species of herbs and shrubs found in both the temperate and subtropical regions.  Geranium is from the Greek geranion, from geranso meaning crane and alluding to the long beak of the fruit. The houseplant cultivated as Geraniums belong to the South African genusPelargonium.  Some species in this genus are cultivated for geranium oil which is used in scents. In the folklore of Islam, Geraniums were said to be a gift from Allah.  As the legend goes, Mohomet went bathing one hot dusty day, leaving his shirt on a clump of weeds.  When the prophet came out of the stream and picked up his shirt, the weeds had been transformed into geraniums. Native Americans indicated that Storksbill was good to eat as a tasty and nutritious potherb.  The Range Plant Handbook, reported “Alfileria furnishes choice Spring forage for all classes of livestock and is also relished by deer.” American Spanish alfilerillo is from the diminutive of alfiler (pin) alluding to the long pointed beak of the fruit.  The plant was probably introduced into the Southwestern US by Spanish missionaries in the 18th century. In the Northeast Storksbill is an occasional weed around towns and especially in the neighborhood of woolen mills, whence its seeds have been brought from the Southwest entangled in wool.


Filaree, Alfileria, Pin Clover, Hemlock Geranium


Erodium circutarium




Naturalized from Europe


Winter annual or biennial


2 inches


May to September


Throughout USA


Mid April to June


Red stem ~ Leaves mostly basal, oblong ~ Flower pink to purple on long stalk