Plant of the day: long beaked stork’s bill

Long beaked stork’s bill is a ubiquitous sight in the fields of the bay area. This invasive little weed and its cousins, other types of stork’s bills, have naturalized across most of California. The long beaked stork’s bill (Erodium botrys) is distinctive because of the particularly long, beak-like seed pod, but also because of its leaf – it is the only one with a long narrow leaf that isn’t actually dissected into separate leaflets.

There are several species of wild geraniums with flowers that look quite a bit like those of stork’s bills – small, pinkish-purple. Again, look to the leaf to know what plant it is. The geraniums (sometimes called crane’s bills) have deeply dissected leaves that are overall roundish in shape. In other words, if you drew a line around the outside of the leaf, ignoring the details, you’d come up with a circle as opposed to the overall tongue-shaped leaves of the stork’s bills. The wild geranium petals are usually notched at the end, giving them a toothed look. Almost all of the wild geraniums are also invasive, with a few exceptions.

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Filed under Invasive, Non-native, Plant of the day

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