Spring Herb’s : Herb-Robert
Familiar little pink flower from April to November, Herb-Robert is a hairy, unpleasant-smelling plant which grows on banks, bases of walls, shingle and shady places throughout the country. Its pink flowers (8-15mm across) have five un-notched petals and in the center of the flower are orange anthers. Each petal is marked by small lighter-pink lines running into the center of the flower. The hairy, stalked leaves are often tinged red and have three to five deeply cut lobes. The fruit is hairy and beak-like. This is a native plant belonging to the family Geraniaceae.
This plant has been introduced into North and South America from Europe and Asia. In traditional medicine in the Americas it has been used to stop nosebleeds. Its leaves are also made into a herbal tea which is recommended as a gargle and an eyewash. (you would not recommend this course of action).
One wonders who is the ‘Robert’ of this plant. Maybe the name comes from the Latin word ‘ruber’ meaning red which may have referred to the colouring of the leaves and stems.
Poem by Michael Shepherd
The hover fly
that’s just demonstrated
that it’s one of the Creation’s greatest
and smallest, most compact miracles of lawful
imagination (imagine flying, then stopping
quite still in the air, no slowing down,
just, zap, like that, dead steady,
and it’s smaller (!) than a helicopter, wow)
right here in front of me in silhouette, but
illuminated on one wing by the PC screen,
and pausing for a freeze-frame moment of eternity
as if to tell me something
(illumination, too?) –
all this, and yet it
doesn’t know I’m writing about it.