Erodium chrysanthum
Common Name: yellow heron's bill
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Geraniaceae
Native Range: Greece
Zone: 6 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to September
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 6-8 (may survive most winters in Zone 5) where it is best grown in gritty, humus-rich. sharply-drained, neutral to alkaline soils in full sun. Soils must be well-drained. Drought tolerant once established.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Erodium chrysanthum, commonly known as heron’s bill, stork’s bill, or crane’s bill, is a dense, tufted, evergreen perennial in the geranium family. It typically grows to 6” tall spreading to 16” wide or more and is valued for its attractive fern-like leaves and long late spring to fall bloom of 5-petaled geranium-like yellow flowers. It is native to alpine areas in Greece. Branching stems bear umbels of 2-7 saucer-shaped, 5-petaled, sulfur-yellow to creamy yellow flowers (to 3/4” wide) which begin blooming in May-June but usually produce some additional bloom throughout summer to fall. Flowers are reminiscent in appearance to some geraniums, but on close inspection only have 5 anther bearing stamens as opposed to geraniums which have 10. The within species is dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants). Female flowers will not produce their unique post-flowering beaked fruits unless male plants are present. Attractive fern-like foliage features mostly basal, 2-pinnate, finely-dissected, silver- to gray-hairy leaves (to 1.5” long), each leaf sporting tiny but attractive oblong to lanceolate leaflets.

Many of the species plants in cultivation today are actually hybrids.

Genus name comes from the Greek erodios meaning heron in reference to the carpels, prior to expulsion of seeds, purportedly resembling the head and beak of a heron.

Specific epithet from Latin means with golden flowers.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf galls common. Aphids and spider mites may be troublesome under glass.

Garden Uses

Rock garden. Trough garden. Border fronts. Path edger. Small area ground cover.