Plants of
South Australia
Erodium aureum ()
Golden Heron's-bill
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Distribution by Herbarium region
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier

Botanical art

Kath Alcock painting: 1

Common names

Golden Heron's-bill


Erodium from the Greek 'erodios' meaning heron; alluding to the fruit resembling the head and beak of this bird. Aureum from the Greek 'aureus' meaning golden; possibly referring to the golden hairs on the mericarps.

Distribution and status

Found in the northern part of South Australia, growing in a variety of vegetation and soil types. Also found in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Murray
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Dwarf annual or short-lived herb to 20 cm tall, stems with soft hairs. Leaves basal and opposite each other, basal leaves to 35 mm long and 15 mm wide, flat, sticky, hairy, lobed and toothed. Flowers pink to mauve or bluish-purple, with 5 petals in clusters of 2-5 flowers on stalks arising from the bases of the leaves. Flowering between May and September. Fruits are long brown capsule to 4 cm long.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between August and November. Collect matured capsules, those that are turning brown and have exposed brown seeds Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry fro 1 to 2 weeks. If only seeds collected, no further cleaning is required. If other material is collected, use a sieve to separate unwanted material. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place This species has physical dormancy that needs to be overcome for the seed to germinate (e.g. nicking or softening the seed coat).