Herb Robert or Robert Geranium (Geranium robertianum)
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Wild Flowers of Sleepy Hollow Lake
Herb Robert or Robert Geranium (Geranium robertianum)
This is an endangered wildflower and should not be picked or dug up.
(click on the pictures or links to enlarge)
(Herb Robert - 01) Herb Robert is a member of the Geranium family (Geraniaceae). The literature says that they grow to heights of between 6 and 18 inches, though most of the ones we've seen are on the shorter side. In one area, where herb Robert was subjected to mowing on the side of the road, it grew like a low ground cover, with leaves and flowers less than two inches off the ground, while adjacent herb Robert plants, beyond the mower's reach, were of normal size.
(Herb Robert - 01a) One of the easiest ways to spot herb Robert, even when it's not blooming, is by its leaf structure. The leaves, which usually grow in sets of three, have three to five rounded-toothed lobes. The leaf and flower stems are also covered with hairs.
(Herb Robert - 02) The herb Robert flowers bloom from May to October. Each flower has five petals, each with a distinctive fold or wave toward the center of the flower.
(Herb Robert - 03) This is another close up look at a 1/2 inch diameter herb Robert flower.
(Herb Robert - 04) This is another close-up of an herb Robert flower.
(Herb Robert - 05) Another herb Robert flower close up.
(Herb Robert - 06) This is a small patch of herb Robert that was growing on the edge of the woods.
(Herb Robert - 07) One of the literary references we use stated that the herb Robert flowers usually grow in pairs, but we have usually found them to be solitary flowers and only occasionally in pairs, and yet this particular one will have three flowers when the bud opens.
(Herb Robert - 08) This side view of an herb Robert shows the branching stem structure.
(Herb Robert - 09) This is another pair of herb Robert flowers: one is open and the other is still in its bud stage.
(Herb Robert - 10) We thought this herb Robert was particularly interesting, because it has two flower stems with only one flower on each of them, and a third flower stem with three buds.
(Herb Robert - 10a) This is a closer look at a single flower and the three bud cluster from the previous photo. Each herb Robert flower has five petals, 1 pistil with five styles, and 5 stamens with double anthers. (One reference said that they have 10 stamens, but we think this was printed in error.) When the flower first opens, the stamens are clustered around the pistil; but as the flower matures, the stamens move outward, as four of them have done in this flower.
(Herb Robert - 11) In this photo, we can see the leaf structure on a single stem of an herb Robert. One of the things we did not read about in the literature is the description of how the two lateral leaves split near the stem (where lateral lobes would be) to form what looks like fully developed leaves.
(Herb Robert - 11a) This close-up of the herb Robert leaves gives us a better view of how the lateral leaves develop, as compared to the terminal leaf (top of photo).
(Herb Robert - 12) This is a small patch of herb Robert that is growing in the rocky soil at the edge of the woods. According to the literature, herb Robert prefers rocky woods, slopes, and shores.
(Herb Robert - 13) This is another look at the herb Robert flowers and leaves.
(Herb Robert - 14) Another herb Robert flower.
(Herb Robert - 15) This is another herb Robert flower.
(Herb Robert - 16) This is another close up look at an herb Robert flower.
(Herb Robert - 17) This a close up look at the twin flowers of an herb Robert. In this photo we have a good view of the five styles of the pistil, surrounded by the five stamens with double anthers.
(Herb Robert - 17a) In this bee's eye view of an herb Robert flower we can almost see the cell structure of the petals and the details of the pistil with its five styles. The texture of the petals looks a lot like Styrofoam plastic.
(Herb Robert - 18) This is a close up side view of herb Robert flowers. If you look closely above the stem junction, you will see a bud growing on the far side of the these two flowers. According to the literature, this flower was named in honor of St. Robert.
(Herb Robert - 19) In this close-up of a newly opened herb Robert flower, we can see how the stamens crowd tightly around the pistil.
(Herb Robert - 20) This photo, taken in the shade with light coming from the rear, accents the hairs on the herb Robert buds.
(Herb Robert - 21) This is another close up view of an herb Robert flower.
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