En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
1 rating

Tuesday - February 05, 2008

From: Cedar Park, TX
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Seeds for invasive, non-native Erodium cicutarium
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I rec'd the following e-mail from a friend in he Chicago area. I looked for about an hour and couldn't find a place to get weed seeds. She thinks we are in the desert here and apparently are so rural we just walk outside and pick what we want. Any clues as to where to get these seeds? any supplier of weed seeds around? Thanks. Hi, Deanna! Someone just asked us where she could get some filaree seeds. This web site (http://www.desertusa.com/may96/du_fila.html) gives good photos and info -- do you have any of that stuff around your area? Could you maybe collect some seeds for us? Thanks!


We did indeed go to the website DESERTUSA recommended by your friend and, frankly, we don't know where to start. We searched on the web by the Latin name, Erodium cicutarium, and found a number of webpages, most of which were under the title of things like "weeds", "noxious weeds", "invasive plants" or "Integrated Pest Management." Then, we discovered that, while there are native Erodiums, members of the Geranium family, this is a non-native, native to Eurasia, and imported to the New World by early Spanish settlers. The focus of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is the care and propagation of plants native to North America, but a very large part of our work also has to do with the control or elimination of invasive plants, whether native or non-native. In point of fact, we don't want to do anything to encourage the propagation of this plant anywhere in the United States.

Filaree is an attractive plant, with its little five-petalled flowers. Perhaps we could suggest some other member of the Geraniaceae Family that are native to North America, not considered invasive and could grow in a garden in Illinois. The first, Erodium texanum (Texas stork's bill), has information on our webpage saying it is only native to parts of the Southwest. However, the USDA Plant Profiles Map shows it distributed as close to Illinois as Missouri, so it's a possibility. Geranium maculatum (spotted geranium) and Geranium carolinianum (Carolina geranium) are both indicated as distributed in Illinois. Now, whether you could get seeds of any of these plants, especially as they are considered weeds, is another question. The Illinois Native Plant Society, on their website, has a link to "Seeds and Nurseries." They also have a lot of material on invasive plants, so you might not have much luck there, either.

Conclusion: We'd really rather you didn't gather any seeds of the Erodium cicutarium, even if you find them.

Erodium texanum

Geranium maculatum

Geranium carolinianum




More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native zoysia and bermuda grasses in Austin
July 11, 2013 - We have Bermuda grass in the front and Zoysia in the back yards. The back grass is fine but the front yard Bermuda isn't. We have watered once each week during the spring and during the past 3 weeks...
view the full question and answer

Ridding non-native centipede grass of native rattlesnake weed in Myrtle Beach SC
April 25, 2010 - How do I get rid of "rattlesnake weed" in my lawn of centipede grass in Myrtle Beach SC?
view the full question and answer

Safe distance from foundation for Sycamore from Preston UK
August 24, 2011 - What would be the safe distance to have a sycamore tree near your house so it doesn't affect the foundations?
view the full question and answer

When and how to prune lavender (Lavandula sp.)
March 20, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants I have a Goodwin Creek Lavender plant that I planted last year. It did very well but my question is about pruining. It seems that there is some growth coming up now that it...
view the full question and answer

Lookink for bulbs of German Blue Bells in Weatherford, TX.
July 09, 2012 - I am searching for a plant that is called "German Blue Bells". They are tubular as seed. Like tiny iris only bands around the tubular. The flower looks like a morning glory with an off set bloom....
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center