Common Name: Storkbills, Crowfoot
Description: Ascending annual or short-lived perennial herbs [or shrubs].
Leaves opposite or alternate, usually simple and pinnately or palmately lobed or dissected or pinnately or ternately compound; leaves becoming smaller up stems.
Inflorescences cymose umbels of 2–7 flowers or flowers solitary. Flowers ± actinomorphic. Sepals 5, not spurred. Petals 5, usually slighter longer than sepals, blue or purplish to pink, rarely white. Fertile stamens 5, alternating with 5 staminodes; staminodes about half as long as stamens.
Mericarps ± hirsute with stiff antrorse hairs, separating completely from the column and surmounted by a spiral awn with ± long stiff hairs on the inner surface, not releasing the seed; mericarps hirsute with mostly short stiff antrorse hairs; pits at the base of the awn sometimes glandular-hairy.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 60 species, temperate regions, especially Europe, Africa & Australia. Australia: 9 species (3 species endemic, 6 species naturalized), all States.
The sharply pointed 'seeds' (mericarps) often cause damage to sheep by penetrating their flesh.
Text by G. J. Harden
Taxa not yet included in identification key
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Leaves pinnately compound, the leaflets toothed to deeply pinnatisect||2|
|Leaves shallowly lobed to deeply dissected, pinnatifid to pinnatisect or palmatisect or ternately dissected||3|
|2||Leaflets toothed; pits on the mericarp at the base of the awns with large glandular hairs||Erodium moschatum|
|Leaflets deeply pinnatisect; pits on the mericarps without glandular hairs|
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|3||Pits on the mericarp at the base of the awns with large glandular hairs||4|
|Pits on the mericarp at the base of the awns without glandular hairs|
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|4||Basal leaves more or less ovate, shallowly lobed; awn on sepals c. 1 mm long, conspicuous||Erodium malacoides|
|Basal leaves oblong-ovate, more or less deeply lobed; awn on sepals c. 0.5 mm long, inconspicuous|
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|5||Hairs on the calyx mostly non-glandular||Erodium crinitum|
|Hairs on the calyx mostly glandular|
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|6||Hairs on the stems glandular; leaves 3-lobed||Erodium carolinianum|
|Hairs on the stems coarse and non-glandular towards base; leaves pinnately lobed or dissected|
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|7||Pits on the mericarp at the base of the awn glabrous with an acute papery rim; awn usually more than 8.5 cm long||Erodium botrys|
|Pits on the mericarp at the base of the awn hirsute, with an obtuse rim; awn ± 8.5 cm long|
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