Filaree, Red-stem; Erodium cicutarium
Early Bloomer. Five pink/purplish petals, low growing reddish stems. Storksbill-shaped seed pod.
Notes: Geranium family. The Genus Erodium (Storksbill) has a seed with a long stem that dries into a coil resembling a clock spring. The plants are sometimes called “Clocks.” At night the tail straightens when moistened by dew and then re-coils in the morning when dried by the sun. The sharp-pointed seed thus slowly plants itself by the repeated straightening and coiling of the tail. You can simulate this action by simulating dew by breathing heavily on a well-coiled seed. If you then place it in a hot sunny place, it will coil before your eyes. You can also push one of the long needlelike seed pods thru another one to make “a pair of scissors”…hence the name, ‘Scissor Plant.’ The leaves are edible, especially when young, and have a parsley-like flavor. It has long been used as a diuretic, astringent, and anti-inflammatory herb. In Chinese medicine, the tea was used as a kidney tonic and to control urinary tract bleeding. In Mexico it has been long used to control bleeding in childbirth. Erodium was accidentally introduced into California by the Spaniards during the mission period, with the seeds clinging to the wool of sheep brought from the Mediterranean countries. Niehaus (Sierra Wildflowers-1974) has Erodium and Geranium each as a separate genus. It is in the same genus as the Long-beaked Filaree (Storksbill)
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Kingdom Plantae -- Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta -- Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta -- Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta -- Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida -- Dicotyledons
Family Geraniaceae -- Geranium family
Genus Erodium L'Hér. ex Ait. -- stork's bill
Species Erodium cicutarium (L.) L'Hér. ex Ait.
-- redstem stork's bill
Contains 3 Subspecies and 3 accepted taxa overall
Filaree, Red-stem (Erodium cicutarium), about 1/4 inch across petals