Family: Geraniaceae
Common Name: Stork's Bill

Comprising around 60 species of annuals, perennials and subshrubs native to Europe, including the Mediterranean, temperate Asia and Australia, and South America, these plants are useful additions to borders and rock gardens. They have small flowers and attractive foliage. The seed is ejected from the pod in a quite remarkable spiralling action, reversing when it reaches the ground. They are generally easy-care plants, and valued for their long flow­ering period.


E. manescavii, zone 6, a perennial from the Pyrenees, grows to 40 cm (16 in), with large, rosy purple flowers.

E. reichardii, zone 7, a perennial from Europe, has white flowers, veined in pink, and grows to 7 cm (3 in). There are some forms with pink flowers and these are well worth buying if available.

E. trifolium, zone 8, is a delicate perennial or biennial, to 30 cm (12 in), with soft, hairy foliage and masses of dainty white to pale pink flowers in spring and summer. Seed is freely produced and young seedlings will appear annually.


Plant in spring in neutral to alka­line, very well drained soil, in a sunny position. The small species appreciate protection from winter rains. Propagate from seed sown in autumn in a garden frame, or by division in spring.


There are species suited to various cli­matic zones.

Eriostemon      Eryngium