Sunday, 20 January 2019

A Week of the Weeds - Shining Cranesbill

A weed with a shine?

Meet Geranium lucidum:  Shining Cranesbill.  It took me ages to identify the occupant at the end of the garden.  I own up that I once sowed Herb Robert  (Geranium robertianum) as part of a wildflower mix in our garden.  It has self seeded ever since then  (along with Yarrow, also in the mix). This invader either arrived in the same way, but was less imposing, or made its own way in.  It seems to thrive in the shadow of the trees, archway and ivy clad fence on a northsloping bed, 

A weed mounting a takeover bid

Looking very lush and quite at home in advance of the bluebells and daffodils

Healthy winter growth

At first I mistook it for Dove's Foot Cranesbill and then Round-leaved Cranesbill.  But the first doesn't have red stems and the second is found only in the South of England, so I was happy to have found the correct ID at last.  It is still a blooming nuisance but I know what I am up against!
Having the right name I can now see that Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board classified this as a grade A noxious weed in 2009 but the downgraded it to grade B in 2015.  In case you are wondering, it is not poisonous, just very hard to eradicate.  The shining part of it is the leaf, although the hairless red stems are pretty shiny too!  I will be removing a lot of this before it flowers and sets seed this year.  I am confident it will still be around in some nook or cranny for years to come however scrupulous my weeding efforts.


  1. I love Herb Robert it’s so cute.

    1. Cute, yes, and also irrepressible. I have been reading that it smells nasty, which I haven't ever noticed. In some places it is called Ragged Robin but in others that name is reserved for another plant.

    2. I know a different plant by that name.

    3. That's you and most people, Sue.