Stork's Bill
Erodium cicutariumGeraniaceae
Whole Plant
Whole PlantFlowerFruitLeaf
Photos (c) Cheryl Comeau Beaton unless otherwise noted


  • Filaree, Redstem filaree, Common storksbill, Heronbill, Alfilaria, Pin-weed, Pin-grass

The Plant:

  • An erect winter annual or biennial, 6-8 inches tall.

The Leaves:

  • alternate
  • dark
  • from jointed nodes
  • pinnately divided
  • pubescent top and bottom
  • upper leaves sessile
  • often reddish

The Stem:

  • branched
  • often reddish
  • flattened white hairs

The Flowers:

  • Magenta to purple five-petaled flowers growing in umbels. Sepals are light-green striped. Flowers are bristle tipped with silky hairs.

The Fruits:

  • beak-like brown fruit
  • splits into 5 segments
  • spirally coiled at maturity in dry conditions
  • uncoiled in moist conditions
  • Seeds: cylindrical, hairy, light brown-orange

The Habitat:

  • roadsides
  • gardens
  • sandy soils


  • seeds are dispersed through wind, water and through contaminated hay, manure and farm machinery

Key ID Features:

  • alternate
  • hairy
  • sessile upper leaves
  • magenta-purple flowers
  • 5 petals
  • green stripes
  • silky hairs on tips

Similar Species:

  • Whitestem filaree (Erodium moschatum) and Carolina geranium (Geranium carolinianum) both resemble stork's bill. Whitestem filaree has broader and longer compound leaves with shallow cut leaflet. Carolina geranium has rounded and palmately veined leaves and outwardly coiled beaks at maturity.


  • Stork's bill is considered invasive because of its ability to crowd out native plants and outcompete agricultural crops.
  • On Nantucket, there was a massive population explosion of this species in 2006, mostly on disturbed soils.

Growth Form: Herb

Origin: Europe, Asia

Level of Invasiveness for Nantucket: Likely Invasive

Level of Invasiveness for Massachusetts: Not evaluated

Massachusetts Cultivation Restrictions: no

Credits: The Electronic Field Guide to the Invasive Plants of Nantucket (c) 2005-2006 Maria Mitchell Association, EFG Project, UMass Boston