Thursday, November 24, 2011

Crows Foot

Erodium crinatum

This is a plant which some people don’t like to grow in their gardens, as they consider it weedy. I introduced it deliberately to mine some years ago. I am very fond of the bright blue flowers.

The plant is an annual that pops up in spring, fills a space with it’s fresh green foliage and delicate little flowers, and then is finished, needing to be pulled out, usually by early November. I always leave a few to seed, and they come up in the following year without any need for assistance. They are never very numerous, so I can’t say that I have found them weedy at all. Perhaps it’s their short life-span which some people object to?

The name “crows foot” is a reference to the shape of the leaf, but as you can see, it’s a bit of a stretch of the imagination to think of crows walking around on things shaped like this.

It is a very suitable plant for a children’s garden, because of its fast growth, and interesting seedpods. Their “storks-bill” or “cranes-bill” shape is typical of members of the geranium, but the ones from this plant are some of the most bird-like. As children my brothers and I used to use them to play at giving “injections”.

Being soft, they don’t hurt at all, unlike the polio injections which were the bane of every schoolchild in those days.
These are drought and frost hardy plants, and they like to be in full sun. They are easy to pull out once finished.
Aborigines ate the roots (roasted) as well as the seeds.

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