Erodium cicutarium

Botanical Name : Erodium cicutarium
Family: Geraniaceae
Genus: Erodium
Species: E. cicutarium
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Geraniales

Common Names :Redstem filaree,alfilaree, alfilaria, alfilerillo (Spanish-Chile), California filaree, cutleaf filaree, filaree, heronsbill, loiquilahuen (Spanish-Chile), pin-grass, pin-weed, redstem, redstem filaree, redstem stork’s bill, relojito (Spanish-Chile), stork’s bill, tachuela (Spanish-Chile)

Habitat : Erodium cicutarium is native to the Mediterranean Basin and was introduced to North America in the eighteenth century, where it has since become invasive, particularly of the deserts and arid grasslands of the southwestern United States. The seeds of this annual are a species collected by various species of harvester ants.It grows on  sandy dunes, grassland, arable land, waste areas, roadsides, railway embankments etc, usually near the sea.

Description:
Erodium cicutarium is described as an annual, winter annual or biennial. It has a prostrate basal rosette and upright, often leafy flowering stalks. The stalks range from < 10cm to about 50cm high, and originate in the axils of the leaves. The leaves are divided into fine leaflets (or lobes) and are finely dissected, similar to those of a carrot. The flowers are about 1cm across, pink or lavender, and borne on stalks in clusters of 2-12. The sepals of the flowers are somewhat pointed and hairy. The fruiting structure (consisting of the seeds, persistent bristly styles, and central placental axis) is 2-5cm long and resembles a stork’s bill. At maturity, the developing fruit splits into 5 segments, each with a long, spirally twisting style with a seed attached at the base. The style twists hygroscopically, drilling the seed into the soil (The Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives, 2001; Hickman, 1993)…..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Cultivation:
Prefers a sunny well-drained position and a limy soil or at least one that is not acid. Plants are likely to be resistant to maritime exposure.

Propagation:
Seed – sow in situ as soon as the seed is ripe in the late summer. The seed can also be sown in situ in late spring. Germination usually takes place within 3 weeks
Edible Uses:The entire plant is edible with a flavor similar to sharp parsley if picked young…..
Young leaves – raw or cooked as a potherb. Harvested in the spring before the plant flowers, they are tasty and nutritious. The leaves are added to salads, sandwiches, soups etc, they can be used in recipes that call for leaves of beet, plantain, sow thistle or amaranth. Young stems – raw. Root – chewed by children as a gum.

Medicinal Uses:
A mild uterine hemostatic and a diuretic for water retention, rheumatism, or gout.  Not a potent plant, a fair amount is needed for effect depending on the use.  The entire plant may be put into a warm-water bath for a person suffering the pains of rheumatism.  The leaves have been made into a hot tea used to increase urine flow, to treat uterine hemorrhage and water retention, and to increase perspiration.  Storksbill is a traditional afterbirth remedy in northern Mexico and New Mexico, said to reliably decrease bleeding and help prevent infection.  A tablespoon of the root and leaves are brewed into tea and drunk three or four times a day.  A tablespoon of the plant with an equal part of comfrey leaves or borage steeped in a pint of water and used for douching is considered a reliable treatment for cervicitis, especially if it has been preceded by vaginal inflammation and no uterine infection is involved.  For joint inflammations a fair amount of the tea is consumed and the wet leaves used for a poultice for several days, the swellings subsiding by the third or fourth day.  Little adverse effect on the kidneys when used as a diuretic and is an older herbal treatment in China for hematuria, particularly from kidney trauma.  One of the many reliable herbs for heavy, painful menstruation.  The root and leaves have been eaten by nursing mothers to increase the flow of milk. Externally, the plant has been used as a wash on animal bites, skin infections etc. A poultice of the chewed root has been applied to sores and rashes. An infusion has been used in the treatment of typhoid fever. The seeds contain vitamin K, a poultice of them is applied to gouty tophus

Other Uses:  A green dye is obtained from the whole plant. It does not require a mordant. The remnants of the styles are very hygroscopic, they can be used in hygrometers and as weather indicators. The dried plant powder has been mixed with watermelon seeds during storage and planting in order to prevent watermelon disease.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erodium_cicutarium
http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?fr=1&si=518
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm

http://digilander.libero.it/ipdid/photos-eng/erodium-cicutarium—alfilaria.htm

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