Herb Robert, Geranium robertianum


Herb-Robert, also called Granny-thread-the-needle, Stinking Robert or Robin Redbreast, is a pretty pink flower commonly found in shady woodland or along walls and in gardens, and is native to Europe. The leaves and stems are green, but turn a beautiful scarlet when exposed to full sun. In medieval England it was believed to be the plant of the woodland sprite, Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, a red-featured, hairy, fairy who carried a candlestick. This was represented in the plant by colour, hairiness and candlestick shaped seed pods. It's association with robins also made it lucky. Traditionally used as a medicinal plant, the leaves of Herb Robert have a pungent smell and spicy taste and can add a bit tang to salads, or be used to make wahes, tinctures and teas.

Herb Robert Checklist


🌳 Deciduous Woodland.
🐝 Moorland, including heaths and grouse moors.
🏑 Urban Green Spaces, including scrubland, parks and gardens.
🚜 Hedgerows, including field edges.


πŸŒΈπŸŒžπŸ‚ April - September


☘️ The green leaves are small and deeply lobed, but turn a beautiful shade of scarlet when exposed to full sun.


🌷 The purple flowers are small, five-petalled and trumpet-shaped.


🌱 The green stems are round, thin, slightly hairy and sprawling in nature. Like the leaves, they turn a beutiful shade of scarlet when exposed to full sun.

Fruit / Seeds

🍏 Small, greenish-red, and candlestick or comet-shaped seed pods.

Edible Parts

☘️ Leaves
🌷 Flowers
🌱 Stem

Aroma / Taste

πŸ‘ƒ Herb robert has a pungent, bitter herbal aroma, said to resemble burnt rubber tyres!
πŸ‘… Quite bitter and spicy.

ID Notes

🟩 ID Difficulty - Beginner
πŸ‘€ The flowers and scarlet colouration of the sun-drenched leaves are key identifiers.
πŸ‘€ The candlestick / comet shaped seed pods are also a key identifier.
πŸ‘ƒ The pungent smell of crushed leaves is a key identifier.


πŸ₯— Salad - The flowers and leaves can be eaten raw and added to salads.
🌺 Garnish - The flowers can be used as a garnish.
🌿 Herb - Can be used to add flavour as a pot-herb.
β˜•οΈ Beverage - Can be used to make teas or other drinks.
πŸ’Š Herbal Remedy - Is often used medicinally.