Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Erodium cicutarium

Higher Taxonomy
Family: GeraniaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, or +- woody, generally glandular-hairy. Leaf: simple to compound, basal and cauline; cauline alternate or opposite, stipules 2, +- on stem. Inflorescence: cyme or pseudo-umbel or 1--2-flowered. Flower: bisexual [unisexual], radial or +- bilateral; sepals 5, free, overlapping in bud; petals generally 5, free, generally with nectar glands at base; stamens generally 5,10[15]; staminodes scale-like or 0; ovary generally 5-lobed, upper part elongating into beak in fruit, chambers 5, placentas axile, style 1, stigmas 5, free, persistent in fruit. Fruit: septicidal [loculicidal], mericarps 5, dry, generally 1-seeded, each persistent on 1 of 5 linear segments of beak that separate from central column by curving or coiling upward.
Genera In Family: 6 genera, 709 species: temperate, +- tropics. Some cultivated for ornament, perfume oils.
eFlora Treatment Author: Carlos Aedo, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: ErodiumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb. Leaf: simple to pinnately compound, cauline opposite; blade lanceolate to reniform in outline, puberulent or short-hairy, base cordate to truncate. Inflorescence: umbel. Flower: radial; stamens 5, free, alternate 5 scale-like staminodes. Fruit: mericarp body indehiscent, fusiform, 1-seeded, base sharply pointed, top generally with 1 pit on each side of beak segment, pits subtended by 1--4 ridges or not; beak segments stiffly hairy adaxially, generally twisted.
Etymology: (Greek: heron, from bill-like fruit) Note: Some cultivated for forage, dyes; "beak segments" sometimes called "awns" elsewhere. Erodium macrophyllum moved to genus California.
eFlora Treatment Author: Carlos Aedo & Carmen Navarro
Reference: Fiz et al. 2006 Syst Bot 31:739--763
Unabridged Reference: Guittonneau 1972 Boissiera 20:1--154
Erodium cicutarium (L.) L'Hér.
Habit: Annual. Stem: decumbent to ascending, 1--5 dm, +- glandular-hairy. Leaf: compound; lower 3--10 cm, blade > petiole, ovate to oblanceolate in outline, sparsely hairy; leaflets 9--13, deeply dissected, ultimate segments 1--2 mm wide. Flower: sepals 3--5 mm, tip bristly; petals +- = sepals, pink to purple, base with veins generally darker. Fruit: body 4--7 mm, pits +- round, glabrous, subtended by 1--2 glabrous ridges; style column 2--5 cm. Chromosomes: 2n=20,36,40,42,54,60.
Ecology: Open, disturbed sites, grassland, scrub; Elevation: < 2000 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA; Distribution Outside California: widespread United States; native to Eurasia. Flowering Time: Feb--Sep
Jepson eFlora Author: Carlos Aedo & Carmen Navarro
Reference: Fiz et al. 2006 Syst Bot 31:739--763
Unabridged Reference: Mensing, S., & R. Byrne. 1998. Pre-mission invasion of Erodium cicutarium in California. J Biogeogr 25:757--762
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
View the CDFA Pest Rating page for Erodium cicutarium
Weed listed by Cal-IPC

Previous taxon: Erodium brachycarpum
Next taxon: Erodium cygnorum

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Botanical illustration including Erodium cicutarium

botanical illustration including Erodium cicutarium


Citation for this treatment: Carlos Aedo & Carmen Navarro 2012, Erodium cicutarium, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 01, 2023.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2023, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 01, 2023.

Erodium cicutarium
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© 2009 Barry Rice
Erodium cicutarium
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© 2008 Steve Matson
Erodium cicutarium
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© 2004 James M. Andre
Erodium cicutarium
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© 2009 Keir Morse
Erodium cicutarium
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© 2014 California Academy of Sciences
Erodium cicutarium
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© 2014 California Academy of Sciences

More photos of Erodium cicutarium in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Erodium cicutarium:
1. You can change the display of the base map layer control box in the upper right-hand corner.
2. County and Jepson Region polygons can be turned off and on using the check boxes.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).