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Sticky Storksbill

Erodium lebelii

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Geraniaceae (Cranesbill)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Sand dunes, sea cliffs, seaside.

Pink, 5 petals
Lilac, pink or white flowers. Star-shaped. Similar looking to Common Storksbill (Erodium cicutarium) but the flowers are slightly smaller (up to 1cm across) and there are no black spots at the base of the upper two petals. 2 to 4 flowers per cluster.
An elongated, twisted beak. The beaks are shorter than those of Common Storksbill.
An annual flower with similar-looking leaves as Common Storksbill. The hairy leaves are sticky to the touch (unlike those of Common Storksbill) and sand often sticks to them. The leaves are also greyish-green and pinnately lobed.
Other Names:
Lebel's Stork's-bill.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Erodium lebelii, also known as Lebel's stork's-bill, is a species of flowering plant in the geranium family (Geraniaceae). It is native to the Mediterranean region and Western Europe. It is a small, herbaceous perennial plant that typically grows to be around 10-30 cm tall. It has pinnate leaves with toothed leaflets and produces small, delicate, pink or white flowers with five petals. It blooms in Spring-Summer. It prefers to grow in well-drained soil, in full sun or partial shade. It is hardy in USDA zones 5-9. It's considered a rare and endangered species.


Sticky Storksbill, scientifically known as Erodium lebelii, is a flowering plant that belongs to the Geranium family. It is a unique and rare species that can be found in only a few regions of the world, primarily in the Mediterranean basin, including Spain, Morocco, and Algeria. The plant is named Sticky Storksbill because of its sticky hairs on its leaves and stems.


Sticky Storksbill is a small herbaceous plant that typically grows up to 30 cm in height. The plant has deeply lobed leaves that are covered in fine, glandular hairs, giving them a sticky texture. The flowers of the plant are small, pink, and have a diameter of about 1 cm. They bloom in the spring and summer and can last up to a few weeks. After the flowers are pollinated, they produce elongated, beaked fruits that resemble the bill of a stork, hence the name "Storksbill." These fruits contain several small seeds, which are dispersed by wind.

Habitat and Distribution

Sticky Storksbill is native to the western Mediterranean basin and is mainly found in the regions of Spain, Morocco, and Algeria. The plant thrives in rocky and dry habitats, including coastal cliffs, limestone outcrops, and sandy soils. It is also found in disturbed areas such as roadsides and abandoned fields.


Sticky Storksbill is an important plant for the ecosystem as it provides habitat and food for a variety of insects and birds. In addition, the plant has a long history of medicinal use. It has been used for treating diarrhea, urinary tract infections, and skin conditions. The plant has also been used as a traditional remedy for wound healing and as an anti-inflammatory agent.


Sticky Storksbill is considered a rare and endangered species due to habitat loss and degradation caused by urbanization, intensive agriculture, and overgrazing. The plant is also threatened by illegal collection and trade for its medicinal properties. As a result, Sticky Storksbill is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Several conservation efforts have been put in place to protect the species, including seed banking, habitat restoration, and public education campaigns.

In conclusion, Sticky Storksbill is a unique and rare plant that is not only important for its ecological value but also for its medicinal properties. The conservation of this species is essential to ensure its survival and maintain biodiversity in the Mediterranean basin.

More Information

Sticky Storksbill is not only an important plant for the ecosystem and for its medicinal properties but also has cultural significance. It has been used in traditional Mediterranean folklore and legends to ward off the evil eye and to bring good luck. In some regions, it is believed that the plant has the power to protect against lightning strikes and snakebites.

Furthermore, the plant's sticky hairs serve as a natural defense mechanism against herbivores and pathogens. The hairs trap insects and prevent them from feeding on the plant, while also providing a surface for beneficial microorganisms to grow.

Despite its importance, Sticky Storksbill faces several challenges in its conservation. Habitat loss and degradation remain major threats to the plant's survival. The plant's small population size and restricted distribution also make it vulnerable to extinction. In addition, the plant's dependence on specific soil types and the effects of climate change pose further threats to its survival.

Therefore, it is essential to continue conservation efforts to protect and preserve Sticky Storksbill. This can include the implementation of sustainable land management practices, the creation of protected areas and reserves, and the enforcement of laws against illegal harvesting and trade. The education of local communities and the public about the importance of Sticky Storksbill can also play a significant role in its conservation.

Another important aspect of Sticky Storksbill is its potential for use in horticulture and as an ornamental plant. The plant's small size, attractive flowers, and unique beaked fruits make it an appealing addition to rock gardens, containers, and borders. Its tolerance to drought and poor soil conditions also make it a suitable plant for xeriscaping.

In addition, the plant has potential for use in ecological restoration projects, especially in degraded and disturbed areas. Its ability to grow in harsh conditions and its role in soil stabilization and erosion control make it a valuable plant for ecosystem rehabilitation.

Sticky Storksbill is also an important source of genetic diversity, which can be used in breeding programs for developing more resilient and adaptive crop varieties. The plant's resistance to pests and diseases, as well as its ability to tolerate adverse environmental conditions, can be useful traits for crop improvement.

In conclusion, Sticky Storksbill is a unique and valuable plant species with cultural, ecological, medicinal, and horticultural importance. The conservation of this plant is crucial to ensure its survival and to maintain biodiversity in the Mediterranean basin. The plant's potential for use in ecological restoration, horticulture, and crop improvement also highlights the need for sustainable management and utilization of this valuable resource.