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Geranium robertianum - L.

Common Name Herb Robert, Robert geranium
Family Geraniaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Moist shady positions in undergrowth[7], rocks and walls, hedge banks, roadsides and waste places[9].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia to N. Africa, east to.Japan and the Himalayas
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Geranium robertianum Herb Robert, Robert geranium
Geranium robertianum Herb Robert, Robert geranium


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Geranium robertianum is a ANNUAL/BIENNIAL growing to 0.4 m (1ft 4in) by 0.4 m (1ft 4in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to October, and the seeds ripen from July to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insect. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map



Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Hedgerow; North Wall. In. East Wall. In. West Wall. In.

Edible Uses

None known


Medicinal Uses

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Antidiarrhoeal  Antirheumatic  Astringent  Diuretic  Homeopathy  Vulnerary

Herb Robert is little used in modern herbalism, but is occasionally employed as an astringent to halt bleeding, treat diarrhoea etc in much the same way as G. maculatum[254]. The leaves are antirheumatic, astringent, mildly diuretic and vulnerary[7, 9, 21, 222, 238]. Modern research has shown that the leaves can lower blood sugar levels and so it can be useful in the treatment of diabetes[244]. An infusion of the leaves is used in the treatment of bleeding, stomach ailments, kidney infections, jaundice etc[222]. Externally, a wash or poultice is applied to swollen and painful breasts[222], rheumatic joints[7], bruises, bleeding etc[9]. It is best to use the entire plant, including the roots[9]. The plant can be harvested at any time from late spring to early autumn and is usually used fresh[9, 238]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant[9]. Details of uses are not given in this report[K].


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Other Uses

Dye  Repellent

Freshly picked leaves are rubbed on the body to repel mosquitoes[53]. They impart their own peculiar odour. A brown dye is obtained from the whole plant[168].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Scented Plants


Cultivation details

Succeeds in any moderately fertile retentive soil in a sunny position[200]. Tolerates a wide range of soil types[200], succeeding in dry soils[238]. Grows well on woodland edges[24]. The whole plant has an unpleasant aroma[244]. The foxy smell is particularly pronounced after rain[245]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[233].


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Seed - sow spring in situ.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

Martina Weatherley   Thu Dec 29 2005

It is fascinating to discover that the foxy smell of Herb Robert has the effect of repelling rabbits. We have, perhaps insanely, tried to combine a small courtyard garden with pet rabbits for the past nine years and I have indeed noticed that the things I've planted in containers where Herb Robert has seeded itself, have been left in relative peace. Every other container and its contents has been comprehensively raided sooner or later by the rabbits - no matter how inaccessible I thought they were - and that included plants which rabbits are supposed not to like such as lavender and thyme which they bit into lots of little pieces just to exercise their teeth I think. I'm now going to study this phenomenon more closely and experiment with deliberately ring fencing precious plants with Herb Robert. It arrived by itself and I always liked it.

Steve Redman   Tue Jul 31 2007

Fine native in Europe, Asia. Horrible noxious weed in the northern parts of the U.S./southern Canada. Some States claim it's native (Maryland & Wisconsin), I doubt they have evidence of this. It's introduced from Eurasia. I can smell it's horrid odor at least six feet away. Like a petro-chemical factory, totally nauseating. It is my most dreaded weed here in western Washington, almost worse than creeping buttercup (R. repens). But a greater threat to woodland ecology than buttercup.

Aisling Blackburn   Sun Apr 26 2009

I have been led to understand that herb robert is a highly medicinal plant when eaten on a daily basis in salads in small portions. I have heard it has anticarcinogenic qualities. Has anyone heard simelar acounts ?

Lucy Icleanu   Mon Oct 12 2009

Hello I am trying very hard to get this tea, Geranium Robertianum, and I cannot find it anywhere. Can someone help me to get it? I need it ASAP Thank you in advance for your help Sincerely Lucy Icleanu 8397 Langdon St, Philadelphia, PA 19090 Ph# 215-722-0960 Cel# 215-349-0310

I found this plant volunteering in a plant that recently came to Southern California from Northern California. It has since come up in several pots in my garden. I had a hunch and looked it and up and it is listed as an invasive species. Comment from Steve above confirms that view.   Jul 31 2014 12:00AM

I found this plant volunteering in a plant that recently came to Southern California from Northern California. It has since come up in several pots in my garden. I had a hunch and looked it and up and it is listed as an invasive species. Comment from Steve above confirms that view.
Invasive Plants Atlas

   Jul 31 2014 12:00AM

I found this plant volunteering in a plant that recently came to Southern California from Northern California. It has since come up in several pots in my garden. I had a hunch and looked it and up and it is listed as an invasive species in the US. Comment from Steve above confirms that view.

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