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Erodium cicutarium
Erodium cicutarium (Filaree)
Geraniaceae (Geranium Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane. Meadows, openings, shrublands, lawns. Spring, summer, fall.
Near Yellow Jacket Canyon, May 10, 2004.

Filaree is a very common plant of roadsides and fields, and it often carpets large areas with bright, tiny, pink flowers.  Fall rains sprout the seeds and the resulting basal rosette of leaves then lies dormant through the winter until spring warmth and moisture brings it into full leaf and flower  --  although warm late fall weather can also bring flowers.  Plants bloom profusely for many weeks in the spring and continue blooming to a lesser degree into the fall.  Flowers open with the morning sun, and depending on how hot the day is, they close early or late in the afternoon to reopen the next day. The deeply cleft, fern-like leaves and deep roots have a strong pungent smell that I enjoy as I walk across patches of the plant on my property.

Erodium cicutarium
Erodium cicutarium (Filaree)
Geraniaceae (Geranium Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane. Meadows, openings, shrublands, lawns. Spring, summer, fall.
Near Yellow Jacket Canyon, May 10, 2004.

Erodium cicutarium
Erodium cicutarium (Filaree)
Geraniaceae (Geranium Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane. Meadows, openings, shrublands, lawns. Spring, summer, fall.
Near Yellow Jacket Canyon, May 10, 2004.

Linnaeus named this species Geranium cicutarium in 1753 and it was renamed Erodium cicutarium in 1789 by L'Hertier, who also named the Erodium genus. 

The long, narrow, pointed Heron/Stork/Crane's bill shaped seed pods give rise to the genus name, "Erodios", from the Greek for "Heron".  "Cicutarium" is for the resemblance of the leaves of Filaree to those of the poisonous Water Hemlock, Cicuta douglasii.  (Conium maculatum now bears the common name of "Poison Hemlock".  Both Cicuta and Conium plants are extremely poisonous.)

Erodium cicutarium
Erodium cicutarium (Filaree)
Geraniaceae (Geranium Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane. Meadows, openings, shrublands, lawns. Spring, summer, fall.
Corona and Bow Tie Arches Trail, Utah, April 14, 2008.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Erodium cicutarium