Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Nature Notes :: Filaree Seeds

This is a fun experiment to do at home with your children and uses one of the most common "weeds" you can find in parks: wild geranium or filaree.  There are lots of different varieties and many of them will work for this project, but the best one is probably red-stemmed filaree or storksbill, which has the super-long sword-like seed pods.  (They look like a stork's bill, hence the name!)  Here's what it looks like in the wild:

If you bring them home un-opened, you can set them in some water and wait for a few days to watch them spring open.  Once they're sprung, they look like this:

Get out a loupe and take a look at them up close -- you'll soon see why they're so "sticky."

I grabbed these by examining what was sticking to the hem of my maxi skirt after our nature study outing!  (Not kidding!)  There are few different varieties here.

They really know how to hitch a ride from place to place, the sign of any good (invasive) weed. :)  They are fun to draw in your nature journal in all their different stages and make a great object lesson on dispersal methods!


  1. Thank you for pointing this out! Very cool! :)

  2. Thanks for posting this - we were just trying to identify these a couple weeks ago! (Apparently they are not common enough in the PNW to make it into our local field guide?)

    1. They are not in most of our field guides either, probably because they are more a weed than a wildflower. ;) But they are pretty cool anyway! :)

  3. How cool! We've been dissecting flowers around here, so this would be a nice addition. :)

  4. Celeste can you post a link to the loupe you have?