GERANIACEAE, The Geranium family
Today was my first day volunteering at the Berry Botanic Garden. I helped weed in the rock garden. The main weeds there are Herb robert, Epilobium, horsetail, sorrel, creeping veronica, Labrador violet and perennials that have reseeded themselves such as Sisyrinchium. The leaves from the trees surrounding the garden need to all be picked up so they don’t smother the small plants. There is one brittle alpine conifer that cannot suffer even the smallest amount of debris sitting on its needles. I supposed it’s used to the wind rushing by it all of the time. This is not Kew. They don’t even pick up the pine needles or dead head promptly (which would make this fall work much easier and the garden clearer without all the unwanted volunteer seedlings, some of which have grown up).
There are many common names for Herb Robert and much folklore which Paghat’s Garden website summarizes well. In the Northwest this plant is officially considered an invasive noxious weed, though in the Northeast it is regarded as a native wildflower. The stems and leaves of this small cranesbill can be red or purplish, and the flowers are pink. It spreads quickly from seed or sprawling stems and can crowd out native plants in the forest understory. It has shallow roots and it easy to pull out. It is annual or biennial. The odor of the crushed leaves is strong and is said to repel mosquitoes when rubbed on the skin. It has been used medicinally for toothaches and nosebleeds.