I have to admit that lately I’ve been spending a great deal of time looking at small weedy flowers. My walks out to the Courtenay Airpark have proven it to be an excellent place to find all sorts of exotic plants from Eurasia. This week I’ve focused on small pink flowers, the weeds that often go “unnoticed” because they’re so common and so small.
Grassy common areas are great places to find Common Stork’s-bill (Erodium cicutarium) and Dovefoot Geranium (Geranium molle). Both of these plants are quite small and seem to adapt well and thrive in open areas that are mowed. If you see pink in a mowed lawn it is likely one of these two plants. A third pink flowered weed that is very common in grassy areas, field edges, and flower beds is Herb-Robert (Geranium robertianum). Normally I’m not a big fan of Eurasian imports but having taken a closer look at these three I’m beginning to see that they have some merit. The flowers are definitely interesting to photograph when using a macro lens.
Dovefoot Geranium has small pink flowers (usually two per stalk) and grows fields, lawns and waste places. The leaves of this plant are broad and kidney-shaped with coarsely toothed lobes. I think that they sort of look like cogs at first glance. Dovefoot Geranium can reach a height of 40 cm tall but the ones I’ve seen are usually quite low to the ground as a result of mowing.
Often growing in association with Dovefoot Geranium is Common Stork’s-bill. It too likes sunny open areas and prefers fields and disturbed places. The flower of this plant is pink and has five petals and sepals. The leaves are fern like in appearance and generally basal (at the bottom of the stem). The common name refers to the fruits which resemble stork’s bills. Common Stork’s-bill ranges in size from 3 cm to 40 cm tall.
The last pink flowered plant that I’ve seen frequently on my walks out to the estuary is Herb-Robert. The flowers range in colour from pink to reddish-purple often with white stripes on the petals. There are usually two flowers at the end of a long stalk. Herb-Robert has egg-shaped to pentagonal-shaped leaves that are somewhat fern-like because they are deeply divided. Like the previous plants, it also prefers waste areas, fields and clearings.
After taking a closer look at these introduced weeds I’m actually starting to appreciate them a little. The flowers are definitely interesting to look at and have a certain beauty. Often missed, they’re worth searching out.