Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) – Ruithéal rí – Geraniaceae
Herb-Robert (Geranium robertianum) is perhaps one of our best known native wildflower in the Geranium family. This beautiful little pink flower is accustomed to growing in a variety of different habitats, from hedgerows, rocky areas, stone walls and even waste ground.
The plant itself is generally straggling, with five pink petals and in the centre it has distinctive orange anthers. Herb-Robert can be found in flower throughout most of the year and since it is such a common species, it’s unlikely you will have to travel far to record it.
The species can look slightly different depending on where it is growing, this generally comes down to the amount of red colouring present in the leaves. In areas where the plant is stressed or too dry (a stone wall for example) the species can appear very red in comparison to one growing at a roadside verge which maintains a healthier looking green colouration.
The leaves are heavily lobed, hairy, and can be divided up to five times, as mentioned above these can become red if the plant is stressed.
The species could be confused with other members of the geranium family, in particular Shining Cranesbill (Geranium lucidum) – however this plant is smaller and much glossier than Herb-Robert, and also has a distinctive green swollen calyx.
A selection of pictures of Herb-Robert below –