Herb robert, Geranium robertianum. Getty Images

What is herb robert?

How to identify and control the annual wildflower, herb Robert.

What is herb Robert?

Herb-robert (Geranium robertianum) is a pretty, low-growing British native cranesbill with small, pink flowers. It typically grows in woodlands and hedgerows, but is also found in shady spots in gardens. Many gardeners are happy to leave this attractive wildflower to grow where it seeds naturally, while others consider it a weed.

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Once known as Saint Robert’s Herb, was named after a French monk who used the herb to heal skin conditions, including wounds and herpes.

How to identify herb Robert

Herb robert flower, buds and seed pods. Getty Images
Herb robert flower, buds and developing seed pods. Getty Images

Herb Robert is a low-growing plant with small, five-petalled, pink flowers, and reddish stems. Its leaves are also tinged with red. When rubbed, the leaves give off a faint mousey smell.

Is herb Robert poisonous?

Herb Robert tea. Getty Images
Herb Robert tea. Getty Images

Herb Robert is not poisonous and has no toxic effects to people or wildlife. In fact it’s actually edible – both the leaves and flowers can be used fresh and dried in salads and teas. Rubbing fresh leaves on the skin is thought to repel mosquitoes.

How to get rid of herb Robert

Close up photograph of pink flowers of Herb Robert. Getty ImagesFrequently, the plant's foliage turns to a deep purple-red, making this a decorative wildflower of the spring.
Close up photograph of pink flowers of Herb Robert. Getty Images
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Herb Robert is relatively inoffensive and easy to manage in the UK. However, if you’d rather it didn’t grow in  your garden, simply pull the plants out of the ground. Doing so before the plants have set seed will ensure they don’t propagate themselves further around your garden.