"Good morning, Mr Grasshopper!
Please stay and talk a bit!"
"Why yes, you pretty fairy;
Upon this grass I'll sit.
And let us ask some riddles;
They're better fun than chat:
Why am I like the Stork's-Bill?
Come, can you answer that?"
"Oh no, you clever Grasshopper!
I fear I am a dunce;
I cannot guess the answer
I give up at once!"
"When children think they've caught me,
I'm gone, with leap and hop;
And when they gather Stork's-Bill,
Why, all the pedals drop!"
Stork's Bill is a
miniature member of the geranium family that enjoys desert, mesa,
rangeland, open meadow, newly tilled ground, & prairie conditions, but
is not restricted to these environments as it is highly adaptable.
Usually prostrate, it is generally no taller than three to six inches,
with each leaf up to ten inches long radiating to dinner-plate size from
the center, or creeping amidst other small weeds. Under some conditions
they do mound upward to a bushier form to ten inches or a foot. The
leaves are surprisingly attractive, very feather-like, resembling fern
fronds. It might actually be mistaken for a desert fern except that the
tiny one-fourth-inch pink-violet flowers eventually give it away as a
Such a widespread weed quite naturally picks up many common names. "Pin
Clover" arises from it being as invasive as clover & having pin-like
seedpods, hence also the name "Pin Grass" for appearing with its
pin-like seeds in grassy meadows & roadsides. These fruits are more
often likened to long bird-bills, hence the widespread name
Stork's-bill, occasionally Heron's-bill.
It first came to the Americas with the Spaniards. The seeds, having
corkscrew-tails to them, attached to animals' fur & to the feathers of
migratory birds, so that the weed preceded Europeans into as yet
unexplored regions. Late in the 1800s when alfalfa was commonly imported
from Arabic nations, alfalfa bales were invariably mixed with stork's
bill, further spreading the seeds of the flower.