by Stephen Mifsud
   24 Jun 2024      ()
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Erodium moschatum   (Musk Stork's Bill)

Erodium moschatum  (GERANIACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Mar-2006 (taxon update: Mar-2006)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Erodium moschatum - datasheet created on Mar-2006. Retrieved from on 24-Jun-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Erodium moschatum(Burm.f.) L'Hér.
Published in Hort. Kew. 2: 414 (1789)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Geranium moschatum (L.) Burm.f.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Geraniaceae Juss. (The Geranium Family)
14 species from the Geraniaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Musk Stork's Bill, Musk Clover, White-stemmed filaree

Maltese name(s) :

Ħaxixa tal-Misk

Status for Malta :

Indigenous. Present on the Maltese islands before man

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent    Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: THEROPHYTE ( annual plants, herbaceous )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

January – June

Colour of Flowers:

Pink or Violet


Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Erodium: From the Greek 'Erodios' meaning a heron alluding to the similarity of the long neck of the heron with the long beak of the fruit. Actually common names such as storksbill and cranesbill are given to most plants of Erodium and Geranium. (Greek origin )
moschatum: Having the fragrance of musk - a natural scent from deer. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Cultivated ground and waste places.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Fields, road margins, country lanes, waste places.
Botanical Description: Annual or biennial, smelling of musk. Stems 10-50 cm, hispid with usually deflexed hairs, dense above, sparse below. Leaves up to 20 cm, oblong-lanceolate, pinnate almost throughout their length, without intercalary leaflets; leaflets ovate, dentate, serrate or somewhat pinnatifid, the lower ones remote. Umbels with 5-12 flowers; bracts several, broadly ovate, subacute, subglabrous, pale brown. Sepals 6-9 mm; petals c. 15 mm, violet or purple. Mericarps 5-6 mm, with patent, brown or white hairs; apical pits very wide, glandular, with a wide, deep furrow at the base. Beak 20-45 mm.
Chromosome number: 2n=20
Distributional range: S. & W. Europe frequently naturalized or casual elsewhere.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Albania, the Azores, the Balaeric Islands, Britain (excl. Northern Ireland and Channel islands), Corse, Crete, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, the Netherlands, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Turkey (European part), Introduced in  Austria and Liechtenstein, Belgium, Czeck Republic and Slovakia, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, Hungary
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
AE Ag Al Au(A) Az(G M S T) Be Bl dBr Ca(C F G H P T) Co Cr Ct Cy Eg Ga Gr dHb(E) Ho Hs(S) IJ It Li LS Lu Ma Md(D M P) Sa Si(M S) Sn Tn Tu(A E) Uk(K) [By Cs Fe Ge He Hu No Sl]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (8 images)
   Erodium moschatum   -   Image Code: ERDMS-0.
   Erodium moschatum   -   Image Code: ERDMS-1.
   Erodium moschatum   -   Image Code: ERDMS-2.
   Erodium moschatum   -   Image Code: ERDMS-3.
   Erodium moschatum   -   Image Code: ERDMS-4.
   Erodium moschatum   -   Image Code: ERDMS-5.
   Erodium moschatum   -   Image Code: ERDMS-6.
   Erodium moschatum   -   Image Code: ERDMS-7.

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