As the name implies, this tiny pink wildflower’s seeds look just like a heron’s bill. Heron’s Bill is an extremely common wildflower that is weedy in nature. Introduced from the Mediterranean, it has taken extremely well to North America’s dry, sandy, grasslands and canyonlands. Because this wildflower has a preference for disturbed soil, it is commonly found growing in yards, gardens, and abandoned lots.
Owing to the success of this plants “Noxious Weed” Title, is its remarkable seed structure. As the seed matures, it opens in a corkscrew formation. As it continually opens, the seed burrows itself into the ground, effectively self-sowing.
While Heron’s Bill, aka Stork’s Bill and Redstem Filaree, may be considered a weed, it is a highly useful wildflower. The whole plant is edible for humans, and sheep may even feed on the young plants. A rich source of nectar and pollen, the Navajo name for this plant translates into english as “Bee Food.”
Being a very gentle herb in the geranium family, Heron’s Bill has several medicinal applications. Most notably, it is commonly known for its ability to reduce excessive bleeding.
Fortunately, Heron’s Bill has a long bloom cycle, beginning as early as February and ending as late as November, depending on the location. So if you find yourself in need, turn to Heron’s Bill for outstanding longevity contained in a sweet and gentle package.
How To Identify Redstem Filaree
Small pink flowers with 5 petals, no more than 1/2 inch in size
Fern-like leaves are pinnately compound, lobed, and hairy on red stems.
Plant structure forms a rosette and sprawls across the ground, growing rather large, but staying close to the ground
Immature seeds, or fruits, look like a heron or stork bill and grow in groups of 5
Where To Find Redstem Filaree
- Prefers sandy soil and disturbed sites
- Canyonlands and grasslands
- Often grows with wild mustard and wild pepper
- North America, Asia, and Mediterranean