Storksbill

Erodium species
Family: Geraniaceae

There are three Erodiums that occur in Tasmania as widespread weeds.
 


Common storksbill: Erodium cicutarium

Growth Habit: A prostrate to semi-erect plant with stems produced both from the base and along the length of the plant. It has a hairy and circular stem and the plant can reach 70cm in height.

Type of Plant: An annual herb.

Flowers: The five petalled flowers measure at about 8 to 12mm in diameter and are pinkish/ purple in colour.

Fruit/Seed: The fruit has a beak 3-5cm long.

Dispersal: Reproduces from seed with germination in autumn.

Distribution: Common storksbill can be found in cultivated ground, arable crops, pastures, roadsides and waste places. It is one of Tasmanias most widespread weeds.

Status: Undeclared in Tasmania

Weed Impact:

  • It competes strongly with pastures in the spring.

 


Long storksbill: Erodium botrys

Growth Habit: A semi-erect plant which stems both from the base and along the length of the plant. It has a hairy and circular stem and the plant can reach 50cm in height. The flowers and fruit are larger on this species than the other storksbill species listed here.

Type of Plant: An annual herb.

Flowers: The five petalled flowers measure at about 12 to 18mm in diameter and are lilac in colour often displaying darker veins.

Fruit/Seed: The fruit has a beak 8 – 11cm long.

Dispersal: Reproduces from seed with germination in autumn.

Distribution: Long storksbill can be found in cultivated ground, arable crops, pastures, roadsides and waste places. More common in the southern parts of Tasmania than the north.

Status: Undeclared in Tasmania

Weed Impact:

  • It competes strongly with pastures in the spring if present in large numbers.

 


Musk storksbill: Erodium moschatum

Growth Habit: A semi-erect plant which stems both from the base and along the length of the plant. It has a hairy and circular stem and the plant can reach 1m in height.

Type of Plant: An annual or biennial herb.

Flowers: The five petalled flowers measure at about 10 to 15mm in diameter and are pinkish/ purple in colour.

Fruit/Seed: The fruit has a beak.

Dispersal: Reproduces from seed with germination in autumn.

Distribution: Musk storksbill can be found in cultivated ground, arable crops, pastures, roadsides and waste places.

Status: Undeclared in Tasmania

Weed Impact:

  • It competes strongly with pastures in the spring.
  • Can be a problem to newly planted lucerne.
  • Has the ability to overwhelm a crop.

For further information contact the Department of Primary Industry, Water and Environment, Tasmania.
 


Control Methods:

  • Improved pasture. The establishment of a vigorous pasture will help control the weed.
  • Herbicide (autumn). Spot spray for smaller patches and boom spray for larger areas. Herbicides registered in Tasmania include 2,4-D, MCPA and glyphosate.

N.B. Always check the herbicide label before use.