Pam Burrow's picture

Wood Crane's-bill

Observed: 22nd September 2012 By: Pam Burrow
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course complete
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Wood Crane's-bill 2
Wood Crane's-bill 1
Wood Crane's-bill 3
Wood Crane's-bill leaf
Wood Crane's-bill leaves
Species interactions

No interactions present.


Pam Burrow's picture

Thanks for this id. How would

Thanks for this id. How would I know Knotted C-b from any other C-b?

lavateraguy's picture


Geranium nodosum is pretty rare in the wild. However, I've just found a second (somewhat dodgy, but not as dodgy as the first) site.

(But there's not a rush of people to agree with me that it is Geranium nodosum.)

I would identify it by the small to medium sized purplish flowers and the distinctive leaf shape. But you need a trained eye before great taxonomic swathes of foliage stop looking the same.

Pam Burrow's picture

Thanks. I don't think that

Thanks. I don't think that I'll ever be able to make the fine distinctions which you and Chris Brooks are able to make, but I do appreciate your help and find your comments interesting. Maybe if the different varieties would oblige by growing side by side so that I could compare them 'on site' I'd have a better chance!

lavateraguy's picture


I can remember not being able to tell the foliage of buttercups, mallows and cranesbills apart.

It took me 2 years to get to the point where I could reliably distinguish the foliage of herb robert and cow parsley by sight.

I've still have several groups that give me problems.

If you persevere practice should make perfect. I learnt without external feedback - getting feedback from iSpot should give you at least a slight advantage.

The five stages of expertise

1) All members of group (usually genus, sometimes family such as Poaceae or Apiaceae) look the same. (I'm at that stage for Taraxacum, Agrostis etc.)

2) One can tell that there is variation within the group, but one can't draw lines between the species. (I'm at that stage for Hieracium, Rubus fruticosus agg., etc)

3) One can recognise the common species within the group.

4) One begins to notice variation within the common species (and mistakes atypical plants of a common species for a rare species - for example a couple of people here have put up observations of Urtica dioica as Urtica urens). (I might be at that stage for Dryopteris affinis agg. - I am having difficulty drawing a line between them and Dryopteris filix-mas.)

5) One is an expert and can identify all mature and undamaged plants of the group.