Erodium moschatum (L.) L'Hér. ex Ait.

musky stork's-bill

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Musky stork's-bill is native to Eurasia and northern Africa, and is introduced in most other continents. Our variety (Erodium moschatum var. praecox) is found in northeastern North America, and in New England occurs in Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), meadows and fields

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
Flower petal color
pink to red
Leaf type
the leaves are compound (made up of two or more discrete leaflets
Leaf arrangement
opposite: there are two leaves per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
  • the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
  • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
Flower symmetry
there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals
there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Fusion of sepals and petals
both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
Stamen number
10
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
Fruit length
4–7 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Bulbils
    the plant does not appear to have bulbils
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
  • Flowers
    Anther opening
    the anthers have narrow slits or furrows that run lengthwise along the anthers
    Anther spurs
    the anthers do not have spurs on them
    Calyx growth after flowering
    the calyx grows to cover or partially cover the fruit
    Calyx symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the calyx (the calyx is radially symmetrical)
    Carpel hairs
    the carpels have hairs, but they are not thick and woolly
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused to one another
    Cilia on petals
    the petal margins do not have cilia
    Cleistogamous flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on the plan
    Corolla morphology
    NA
    Corolla palate
    no
    Corona lobe length
    0 mm
    Epicalyx
    the flower does not have an epicalyx
    Epicalyx number of parts
    0
    Flower description
    the flower has a superior ovary, and lacks a hypanthium
    Flower length
    10–15 mm
    Flower orientation
    the flower points upwards or is angled outwards
    Flower petal color
    pink to red
    Flower reproductive parts
    the flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Flowers sunken into stem
    no
    Form of style
    the style is unbranched, but it has two or more narrow appendages that are part of the stigma
    Fringed petal edges
    the petals are not fringed
    Fused stamen clusters
    NA
    Fusion of sepals and petals
    both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
    Hairs on flower stalk
    the flower stalk has hairs on it
    Hairs on inflorescence
    at least some of the hairs on the axis of the inflorescence have glands
    Horns in hoods (Asclepias)
    NA
    Hypanthium
    the flower does not have a hypanthium
    Inflorescence one-sided
    the flowers are arrayed in a spiral around the inflorescence axis or branches, or occur singly, or in several ranks
    Inner tepals (Rumex)
    NA
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of carpels
    5
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of sepals, petals or tepals
    there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    Number of styles
    1–5
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Perianth shape
    the perianth is rotate (platter-shaped, the corolla flattened, circular, with nearly horizontally spreading lobes)
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal and sepal colors
    pink to red
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal base
    the petal narrows gradually or does not narrow at the base
    Petal folds or pleats
    the petals of the flower do not have folds or plaits
    Petal hairs (Viola)
    NA
    Petal hairs on inner/upper surface
    there are no hairs on the inner/upper petal surface
    Petal length
    10–15 mm
    Petal length relative to sepals
    the petals are longer than the sepals
    Petal nectaries
    the petals do not have nectaries
    Petal number
    4–5
    Petal shape
    the petal outline is oblong (rectangular, but with rounded ends)
    Petal tip shape
    • the petal tip is obtuse (bluntly pointed)
    • the petal tip is rounded
    Petal tips (Cuscuta)
    NA
    Raceme attachment (Veronica)
    NA
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Scales inside corolla
    no
    Sepal and petal color
    the sepals are different from the petals
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals are green or brown, and leaf-like in texture
    Sepal appendages
    the sepals do not have appendages on them
    Sepal appendages (Oenothera)
    NA
    Sepal color
    • green to brown
    • white
    Sepal features
    one or more sepals have glands that are raised from the surface by a stalk
    Sepal length
    5–9 mm
    Sepal number
    4–5
    Sepal orientation
    the sepals are pressed against the corolla, or jutting stiffly upward
    Sepal shape
    • the sepal outline is eliiptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the sepal outline is oblong (rectangular, but with rounded ends)
    Sepal texture
    the sepals are either very thin but flexible, like a membrane, or they are leaf-like in texture
    Sepal tip shape
    • the sepal tip is acute (is sharply pointed)
    • the sepal tip is obtuse (is bluntly pointed)
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are separate from one another
    Stamen attachment
    the stamens are not attached to the petals or tepals
    Stamen number
    10
    Stamen position relative to petals
    the stamens are lined up with the sepals
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are not attached to one another
    Staminodes
    the flower has staminodes
    Stigma position
    the stigmas are positioned at the tip of the style
    Style length
    20–40 mm
    Style petal-like
    the styles are not petal-like
    Style relative length
    the stigma protrudes beyond the mouth of the corolla
    Umbel flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Upper lip of bilabiate corolla
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene relative orientation
    NA
    Achene shape
    NA
    Achene surface (Polygonum)
    NA
    Achene type
    NA
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule color (Viola)
    NA
    Capsule ribs
    NA
    Capsule splitting
    NA
    Carpel beak length
    10–40 mm
    Fruit (pyxis) dehiscence
    NA
    Fruit beak length
    10–40 mm
    Fruit features (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Fruit length
    4–7 mm
    Fruit length relative to sepals
    • the fruit is about the same length as its associated sepals
    • the fruit is shorter than its associated sepals
    Fruit locules
    five
    Fruit shape
    the fruit is another shape than those described
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a schizocarp (when dry it splits into sections, each holding one or more seeds)
    Hair type on fruit
    the hairs on the fruits have glands at their tips
    Hairs on fruit
    the fruits have hairs on them
    Legumes (Fabaceae)
    NA
    Mericarp length
    4–7 mm
    Mericarp segment shape (Desmodium)
    NA
    Other markings on berry
    NA
    Ovary stipe
    the ovary or fruit does not have a stipe
    Placenta arrangement
    the plant has axile placentation, in which the ovules are attached where the septa of a compound ovary are united, usually on the central axis, or to the septa themselves
    Rows of seeds in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit compression
    the fruit is not flattened
    Schizocarpic fruit segments
    5
    Seed number
    1
    Seed surface
    the seed is smooth or without clear markings
    Septum in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    the fruit does not have wings on it
    prickles on fruits
    the fruits do not have thorn-like defensive structures
  • Glands or sap
    Glands on leaf blade
    the leaf blades do not have glandular dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
    Sap color
    the sap is clear
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is an herb (it has self-supporting stems)
    Lifespan
    • the plant lives for two years
    • the plant lives only a single year or less
    Parasitism
    the plant is not parasitic
    Plant color
    the leaves or young stems of the plant are green
    Plants darken when dry
    no
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
  • Leaves
    Bracteole number (Apiaceae)
    0
    Bracts in plantain (Plantago)
    NA
    Final leaf segment length to width ratio (compound lvs only)
    anything
    Final leaf segment width (compound lvs only)
    1–4 mm
    Leaf arrangement
    opposite: there are two leaves per node along the stem
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has a distinct leaf stalk (petiole)
    Leaf blade base shape
    • the base of the leaf blade is cordate (heart-shaped, has rounded lobes at the base)
    • the base of the leaf blade is rounded
    Leaf blade edges
    • the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
    • the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    Leaf blade length
    50–150 mm
    Leaf blade primary vein pattern
    the secondary veins branch off at intervals from the primary vein
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is herbaceous (has a leafy texture)
    Leaf blade veins
    the leaf blade has one main vein running from the base towards the tip (it may or may not have secondary veins)
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they whither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the leaves are green, with an expanded blade and a leaf-like texture
    Leaf shiny
    the upper side of the leaf is dull or slightly shiny
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf stalk attachment to leaf
    the petiole attaches at the basal margin of the leaf blade
    Leaf stalk base
    the petiole base is narrow where it attaches to the stem
    Leaf stalk length
    50–150 mm
    Leaf teeth and lobes
    • the leaf blade margin has forward-pointing teeth
    • the leaf blade margin has rounded teeth
    • the leaf has a row of two or more lobes on each side of the central axis
    Leaf type
    the leaves are compound (made up of two or more discrete leaflets
    Leaf types
    There is a gradual change in appearance of the leaves from the base (or near the base) of the plant to those from further up on the stem, with leaves progressively changing as one moves higher on the stem (often becoming shorter, or less toothed/lobed, and/or with shorter petioles).
    Leaf variation
    the leaves are nearly similar in size, prominence of teeth, and length of stalks throughout the stem
    Leaflet number
    11–15
    Leaflet petiolules
    the leaflets of the compound leaf have petiolules
    Leaves per node
    there are two leaves per node along the stem
    Pinnately compound leaf type
    the pinnately compound leaves have a terminal leaflet (and usually have an odd number of leaflets per axis)
    Specific leaf type
    the leaf has a row of two or more lobes on each side of the central axis
    Stipule features
    NA
    Stipules
    the plant has stipules
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branched tendrils
    NA
    Flowering stem cross-section
    • the flowering stem has strong or sharp angles, but is not square
    • the flowering stem is circular, or with lots of small angles so that it is roughly circular
    Hair between stem nodes
    the stem has hairs between the nodes
    Hairs between stem nodes
    the hairs on the stem are plain, without glands or branches, and not tangled
    Hooked hairs on stem between nodes
    no
    Leaves on stem
    there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Plant height
    10–60 cm
    Stem bloom
    there is no powdery or waxy film on the stem
    Stem hair distribution
    the hairs on the stem are distributed more of less uniformly
    Stem orientation
    • the stems are upright or angled outwards
    • the stems trail at the base, but may turn upwards at the tips
    Tendril origin
    NA
    Tendrils
    the plant does not have tendrils

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
absent
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

var. moschatum

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

var. praecox

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

No

Sometimes Confused With

Erodium cicutarium:
leaflets prominently lobed, with sinuses extending 1/2 to nearly the entire distance from the tips of the lobes to the leaflet midrib, and anther-bearing filaments without basal teeth (vs. E. moschatum, with the leaflets toothed to lobed, the sinuses rarely extending more than 1/2 the distance from the tips of the teeth or lobes to the leaflet midrib and anther-bearing filaments with 2 teeth at the base).

Synonyms

  • Geranium moschatum L.

Family

Geraniaceae

Genus

Erodium

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties in New England

Our variety is Erodium moschatum (L.) ĽHér. ex Ait. var. praecox.

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

6.  Erodium moschatum (L.) ĽHér. ex Ait. var. praecox Lange E

musky stork’s-bill. Geranium moschatum L. • CT, MA, ME. Fields, roadsides, waste areas, 
wool waste.