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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

24 September, 2015

Common Storks-bill: the pinweed

Common stork's-bill (Erodium cicutarium) is a member of the popular family of garden flowers, the geraniums. This group of flowers has one obvious thing in common, when the petals are over and fall the central pistil stands pointed like the long bill of storks and cranes. The larger members of the family are called crane's-bills and the smaller ones stork's-bills; common stork's-bill is a small, sprawling little geranium with the stems often reddish in colour.
When one discounts the number of garden varieties that have escaped into the wild there are basically four species of stork's-bill and, of those, three (sticky, musk and sea) are pretty uncommon and will probably not be found in Dorset. Common stork's-bill on the other hand is common and can be frequently found on the Dorset heath. This is interesting because the soil on the heaths is usually acidic and yet my flower guide says it is found in grassy places, especially on lime (alkaline) soils. It does add that bare areas of sandy soil are favoured and that is typical of where I have seen it on the heaths, where there is little or no grass or heather.
This flower has various other common names

Read more: Common Storks-bill: the pinweed