Seán   Weed-of-the-Week: Stinky Bob

Stinky Bob - 20.5.13

Although weeding is a daily duty here, we've started a weekly tradition called Weeding Wednesday during which we each spend a focused chunk of 水曜日 crawling around the Hill pulling Undesirable Plants to make room for greater biodiversity. In light of this new custom, I thought I'd take some time to research one of the weeds that I've been focusing on today:

Stinky Bob - 20.5.13 Herb Robert aka 'Stinky Bob' (Geranium robertianum)

Bob's pink flowers & red stems may be pretty, but there's much more to this little invasive geranium than meets the eye. Bob is not only quite pungent (described here as a mixture of “diesel and mint”), but also extremely adept at crowding out native plant communities through tactics such as catapulting its self-fertile seeds up to 6 meters (20 feet) away, where they can survive for over 6 years.

Stinky Bob - 20.5.14 Geraniums are also known as “cranesbills”. I might also suggest “doduo”...

Bob is believed to have been introduced to North America by early colonists, but it's unclear whether this was intentional (for medicinal & ornamental reasons) or unintentional (e.g. ballast water from ships). In any case, this fragrant cranesbill is native to Europe, Southwest Asia, and North Africa, and is also known by a long list of intriguing alternative names such as red robin, death-come-quickly, felonwort, knife and fork, little bachelor's buttons, crow’s foot, and old woman threading her needle (no joke).

Next time: Stinky Bob & Sticky Willy – cozy friends or entangled rivals?