Herbs & Plants

Geranium robertianum

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Botanical Name :Geranium robertianum
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Geraniales
Family: Geraniaceae
Genus: Geranium
Species: G. robertianum

Common Name :Herb Robert ,Herb Robert, Red Robin, Death come quickly, or (in North America) Robert Geranium

Habitat:Geranium robertianum is found throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa where it grows on a variety of soils, rocks, tree trunks, and decaying organic matter such as logs (Falinska and Pironznikow 1983). It is a component of   virtually all forest types there. In the Pacific Northwest it is primarily found west of the Cascade crest although it extends along the Columbia River in Klickitat County. In some western counties it is widespread, although  still expanding fast into new territory. In other areas it appears in only a few to no populations.

Geranium robertianum can grow at altitudes of up to 1,500 metres (4,921 ft).

English: Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum). P...
English: Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum). Photo by sannse, Tapeley Park, Instow, North Devon, 14 May 2004.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Geranium robertianum is both a winter and spring annual. The light green leaves are deeply dissected. In late fall the foliage turns red. The stems fork and are brittle at the joints. They are pubescent and under high light conditions are red and up to 25 cm long. The roots are shallow. The pink flowers are perfect with five petals that are 7-10 mm. The receptacle is elongated into a structure called a “torus”. The fruit is a capsule. The seeds are brown and about two mm long. Herb Robert propagates by seed. A distinguishing characteristic of the species is the pungent odor of the crushed leaves and another common name for this plant is stinky Bob.

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In Great Britain is commonly found in hedgerows. It has been introduced into other temperate parts of the world, probably through its use as a ornamental plant, such as in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. In the state of Washington, it is known as Stinky Bob and classified as a noxious weed.(WSNWCB 2005, p. 8)(WSNWCB 2007)


The active ingredients are tannins, bitters, and essential oils.

Medininal Uses:
In the past Herb Robert was used mostly in veterinary medicine, especially fore the treatment of blood in the urine and infectious diseases.  An application for melancholy and sadness was recommended.  It stimulated the metabolism. It is now occasionally employed in much the same way as American cranesbill as an astringent and wound healer.  More investigation is needed as according to one authority it is also effective against stomach ulcers and inflammation of the uterus, and it has potential as a treatment for cancer.  To treat chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal trace, try administering Herb Robert in the form of a medicinal wine.  A simple one is made by filling a large jar half and half with freshly plucked, chopped Herb Robert and a good red wine.  Let the mixture stand for two weeks before straining it into a corked bottle.  Sip by snifter before meals.  For external applications, the freshly pressed juice of Herb Robert is best.  You can either apply the juice directly to the area being treated or use it In compresses.  Herb Robert is available as “Herba Geranii Robertiani and the homeopathic mother tincture “Geranium robertianum is prepared from the fresh flowering plant.

In traditional herbalism, Herb Robert is used as a remedy for toothache and nosebleeds. An infusion made from the whole plant, minus the root, has been used for its diuretic and tonic effect and as a remedy for dysentery. It is also used on wounds for healing and to prevent scarring, having both an antiseptic and a styptic effect.

Other Uses:
Freshly picked leaves have an odor resembling burning tires when crushed, and if they are rubbed on the body the smell is said to repel mosquitoes.

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.


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