Genus Erodium
Geranium Family (Geraniaceae)

Low mat-like plant
    with many small pink flowers

(Erodium cicutarium)
This plant is common on the dry foothills and roadsides. It is low-growing, spreading into a dense mat with several small pink flowers (each about 1/2 inch across). It was introduced to America by the Spanish because it grows well in many different habitats, and has good forage value for grazing animals. It has spread througout the western states, often crowding out native species.

Some seed heads can be seen in the lower left part of this photo. They are long and pointed, resembling the head of a stork. When they ripen and fall to the ground, the long "bill" portion of the seed becomes corkscrew shaped. It then responds to moisture changes by coiling and uncoiling. This helps drive the seed into the ground.

Storksbill flowers
   and seedheads

Red Butte Canyon
Wasatch Mountain foothills
Salt Lake County, Utah


by Sandra Bray