Erodium botrys, aka corkscrew weed

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Sep 24 '16, 02:41PM | By Team | Views: 14150 | Comments: 0
Erodium botrys, aka corkscrew weed

Morangup this weed is fast becoming OUT OF CONTROL

In Morangup the 1st of JUNE to the 1st of JULY is the optimal time to combat this weed.

If you see this weed anywhere on your property, please remove it ASAP

DO NOT MOW OR SLASH this plant, it will only help spread it!

Typically controlled using 2 methods in rotation.

Nugrex ® Selective Herbicide @ 1L per Ha (up to 4 leaf stage)

For NON-SELECTIVE treatment, follow up with Glyphosate 450  1.5L per Ha and/or Spray.Seed® at 2 L/ha  100L-Ha, with an added 500ml of Dicamba.

The Addition of Liase (ammonium sulfate) at 2L/100L, may improve control.

Lontrel® at 6 ml/10 L + wetting agent can be applied before flowering or Verdict 520® at 1.5 ml/ 10 L + wetting agent (up to 6 leaf stage)



For further information consult the APVMA Database to determine the status of permits for your situation or location.See also Florabase Swan Weeds

Perth Weed list click here
Identification of weeds

MyWeedWatcher mobile thumbnail


Use smartphone and tablet devices to identify, survey and report weeds and view results online.

Scientific Name

Erodium botrys (Cav.) Bertol. (commonly found in Morangup 6083)


Geranium botrys Cav.



Common Names

big heron's bill, big heron's-bill, broadleaf filaree, corkscrews, crane's bill, filaree, long beaked filaree, long heron's-bill, long storksbill, longbeak stork's bill, shiny leaf storksbill, stork's bill, storksbill, wild geranium, tic-toc

Origin: Native to southern Europe (i.e. Greece, Italy, Yugoslavia, France, Portugal and Spain), the Madeira Islands, the Canary Islands, northern Africa (i.e. northern Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia), and western Asia.Naturalised Distribution

Widely naturalised in southern Australia (i.e. in New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, many parts of South Australia, the southern parts of Western Australia and the southern parts of the Northern Territory.

Also naturalised in temperate Asia, New Zealand, the USA and the southern parts of South America.


Long storksbill (Erodium botrys ) is only widely regarded as an environmental weed in Victoria, thought it is widespread as a weed of native pastures, open woodlands and grasslands in the southern parts of Australia. This species is thought to pose a serious threat to one or more native plant communities in Victoria and has been recorded in numerous conservation areas in this state (e.g. Boonderoo Nature Conservation Reserve, Kotta Nature Conservation Reserve, Moodemere Nature Conservation Reserve, Roslynmead Nature Conservation Reserve and Organ Pipes National Park).

However, it is also present in conservation areas in South Australia (e.g. Angove Conservation Park, Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park, Sandy Creek Conservation Park, Cleland Conservation Park and Para Wirra Recreation Park) and is a common weed of native woodlands in the wheatbelt region of south-western Western Australia and right here in Morangup!  i.e. between Geraldton and Albany).


Common Storksbill

Erodium cicutarium(L.) L'Her. ex Aiton
Family: Geraniaceae.
Common Storksbill

Other names:

Common Crowfoot
Common Heron's Bill

Common Storksbill

Corkscrew weed

Redstem Filaree
Small Crowfoot


A light green, finely lobed leafed, rosette forming annual to biennial herb to 40 cm tall with pink to white flowers from July to October and sharp, corkscrew seeds and weak stems. The leaves have leaflets and the lobes of the leaflets are cut almost to the mid vein. The flowers are in stalked clusters, each flower with 5 free petals. There are 5 fertile stamens and 5 small antherless filaments. The style has 5 short lobes. The distinctive fruit is long, beak-like and splits into 5 fruitlets which, when mature, separate and twist so that each seed is attached to a spirally-twisted corkscrew-like awn. The fruits 3.5-5 cm long including the awn. It forms a ground hugging rosettes of leaves initially then produces sprawling stems the curve upwards near their ends.
Native to Europe or the Mediterranean region, they are now weeds of pasture, crops, wasteland and roadsides.

NOTE: Don't let this get into your animals coat as it has been known to burrow its way into their bodies and has caused death through infection on many occasions. This is particularly problematic in Canine ears.  If you have this on your property, please help and eradicate this weed from Morangup.

Two. The cotyledon has a deeply lobed blade 5 to 8 mm with a petiole 10 to 15 mm long. Round tip. Base indented. A few glandular and fine hairs are present. The seedling has a hypocotyl but no epicotyl.

First leaves:

The leaves arise singly, the first leaf having a blade 5 to 10 mm long with a petiole 10 to 15 mm long. Both simple and glandular hairs are present on the blade and petiole. The first leaf is usually lobed to the midrib.


Forms a rosette with a diameter up to 400 mm.
Stipules - Narrowly egg shaped to triangular, 3-12 mm long. Acute or tapering tip.
Petiole - Up to 40 mm long
Blade - Dull Light green, egg shaped to oblong in outline, 30-80 mm long. Separate, lateral, distinct, stalkless leaflets that are egg shaped to oblong, 8-10 mm long x 5-6 mm wide, lobed to the mid vein and the lobes are toothed.
Stem leaves - Dull light green. Have a blade 40 mm or more long with a petiole approximately as long again. Short, glandular and simple hairs.


The stems are solid with a pithy core, erect, semi erect or curved upwards at the ends, circular in cross section, up to 900 mm long, branching from the base and along their length. Long, glandular and simple hairs. Ring of membranous scales at the base of the stem in the rosette.

Flower head:

The inflorescence is terminal or in leaf axils with 1-8 flowers on a long, 40-80 mm, hairy or glandular hairy, slender stalk (peduncle) with bracts fused into a funnel shaped toothed tube. The individual flowers are on 9-22 mm long, hairy or glandular hairy stalks (pedicels). Stalks vary from hairy to almost hairless. Bracts similar to stipules.


8 to 12 mm in diameter. Sepals - Oblong to elliptic, membranous, 3-6 mm long, with a mucro tip with 1-2 long hairs. Hairy to almost hairless with tiny hairs on the edges. Petals - 5, pinkish/purple to white often with dark markings, spreading, oblong to elliptic, 4-8 mm long, The two upper ones are slightly longer than the 3 lower ones. Stamens - 5 outer staminodes scale like, awl shaped and without anthers. 5 inner fertile stamens. Filaments are oblong, broadened at the base, free or joined at the base, not toothed and the top is thread like. Anthers – 5.

Fruit: 5 pointed fruitlets, each with a corkscrew (20-50 mm) awn that is hairy on the inner side.

Seeds: Brown, hairy, 3-8 mm long x 1.5 mm wide with a shallow pit and pointed. One concentric, hairless fold below the pit.


Key Characters: Dull light green leaves with separate leaflets that are cut to the mid vein. Flowers pink. Bracts joined into a toothed tube. 5 stamens and 5 staminodes.

Biology:Life cycle: Annual or biennial. Autumn is the main germination time in disturbed areas and established pasture. In crops germination commonly occurs in spring and through summer where moisture is available. It grows mainly through the winter spring period and flowers in spring to summer. Late germinating individuals can flower when they are quite small.

Reproduction: By seed.

Flowering times: July to October in SA.

Mid June to September in Morangup WA.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules: None.

Hybrids: Variety stellatumis a small almost stemless plant with two, white, upper petals with a dark red spot.


Population Dynamics and Dispersal:  It appears to be somewhat less aggressive in pastures than Musky Storksbill in Tasmania.
Corkscrew awn propels the seed about 540 mm from parent in a sling shot action (Stamp, 1989) then assists with burying the seed by straightening when damp and coiling as it dries.

Origin and History: Europe. Southern Asia, Northern Africa.

Distribution: ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA.

Found in all parts of Tasmania.
Widespread throughout Western NSW.

Courtesy Australia’s Virtual Herbarium.


Climate:  Temperate. Mediterranean.

Soil:Most abundant on sandy soils, but occurs on a wide range of soils.

Plant Associations:In many communities.


Beneficial: Fodder that is palatable and productive in winter and spring.

Detrimental:Weed of waste areas, arable crops, and pasture.

Seeds injure stock, shearers and handlers.

Toxicity: May be toxic.

May cause photo-sensitisation in sheep.


Management and Control: Spray grazing, pasture manipulation and spray topping can reduce infestation levels in pastures. However this may lead to invasion by even less desirable species.


Eradication strategies:  Preventing seed set for 2-3 years will result in very low populations.
Manual removal and cultivation are effective but time consuming.
Hormone herbicides provide good control of young plants. It is relatively tolerant to glyphosateSpray.Seed® at 2 L/ha provides good non selective control. Lower rates of 1 L/ha Spray.Seed applied at flowering reduces seed set.  (Spray Seed and 2,4 DB are extremely toxic to all living organisms, read and follow their product lables and MSDS Labelling ((examples shown)) carefully)
In bushland situations, Buttress or Machete (400g/L) at 4 L/ha (80 mL in 10 L water) or Lontrel® 750 at 120g/ha (2 g in 10 L water for spot sprays) applied before flowering provides reasonably selective control. For highly selective control, use Verdict®520 at 100 mL/ha plus oil (2 mL plus 100 mL oil in 10 L water for hand sprays) on actively growing seedlings before flowering.
Replanting tall growing and scrub species, to increase levels of shade, and reducing grazing will help prevent re-infestation.

Herbicide resistance:

Biological Control:
Rabbits eat immature fruit and tend to ignore the leaves.

Related plants: Blue Storksbill (E. cygnorum) (a native weed of horticulture in Manjimup) is similar but has sky blue flowers and palmately lobed leaves.

Heronsbill (E. brachycarpum)
Long Storksbill (E. botrys) has shiny, dark green leaves and rarely has true leaflets.
Musky Storksbill (E. moschatum) is similar but usually larger, has more lobed cotyledons, and the first leaf has distinct leaflets rather than very deep lobes, the later leaves have leaflets that are not as deeply dissected, so the plant looks less ferny.
Oval Heronsbill (E. malacoides)

Plants of similar appearance: Common Storksbill is distinguished from Musky Storksbill as a seedling by the shape of the cotyledon and the first leaf that is lobed but not completely pinnate. In the rosette and mature stages the leaflets are far more deeply divided, frequently more than half way to the mid-rib. This is particularly noticeable in the upper stem leaves.

Native species of Geraniaceae have broader leaves which are palmately divided (like a hand).
Capeweed, Turnips, Radish and Mustard.

GERANIACEAE - Geranium Family

A worldwide family of 600 species, mostly herbs and some shrubs. In Western Australia there are 10 native species and 10 naturalised ones. Erodium (storksbill, erodium, geranium) is a genus of about 60 species, of which seven occur in Western Australia. When green, the fruits form a long beak shape like the head of a stork or heron, that split when ripe so that each seed is attached to a long, spirally-twisted awn. As these 'corkscrews' twist and relax with changing humidity, they drive the seed into the ground. All are found on farmland, especially poorly-managed pastures, and also on wasteland and roadsides. E. aureumis a common weed on loamy soils in the arid zone. It has deeply lobed leaves (not cut to midrib), to 3.5cm long, pink flowers and a fruit beak 5-7cm long. Native to south-west Asia. E. botrys(corkscrews, long storksbill) has leaves without distinct leaflets, purplish petals and the ripe fruit has a beak 8-11cm long. It occurs in pastures and on disturbed ground between Geraldton and Albany. Native to the Mediterranean. (Note, the native E. cygnorum, that is very similar toE. botrysbut has palmately-lobed leaves and sky-blue petals, is considered a weed of horticulture at Manjimup.) The closely-related E. brachycarpum(heronsbill), which has a shorter beak, is probably throughout the south-west, but is seldom recorded due to confusion with E. botrys. Native to North Africa.

E. cicutarium(common storksbill) has pinnately lobed leaves, cut to the midvein, pink flowers, and the ripe fruit has a beak of 3-4.5cm long. It is found on sandy soils from Dirk Hartog Island to the Nullarbor. Native to the northern temperate zone.

E. moschatum(musky storksbill) has pinnately-lobed leaves, cut only half way to the midvein, pink petals and a beak 2.5 to 4cm long. It is found in similar situations to and often growing with E. botrys. Native to the Mediterranean.

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