Dove's-foot crane's-bill

Information on habit, biology, persistence & spread for Dove's-foot crane's-bill.

Other names

Latin names

Geranium molle L.

Weed Type

Annual Broad-leaved Weeds


Dove’s-foot crane’s-bill is native on dry grassland, dunes, waste places and cultivated ground. It is widely distributed on pasture, scree, roadsides and railways. Dove’s-foot crane’s-bill is a winter or more rarely summer annual and is common throughout the UK. It is most frequent on limestone.


Dove’s-foot crane’s-bill flowers from April to September. The flowers are visited by insects but probably self-pollinate. Seed is set from June to October. The average seed number per plant is 1,500 to 2,000. Seed may germinate in the autumn after shedding but some seeds exhibit hard-coat dormancy. Germination is enhanced by dry-storage.

Persistence and Spread

Dove’s-foot crane’s-bill is thought to form a persistent seedbank but in one study, seed buried in peat or mineral soil was not viable after a year. Seed recovered from excavations and dated at 30 years old is reported to have germinated. Seed held in granary conditions gave 98% and 15% germination after one and twenty years respectively.

Dove’s-foot crane’s-bill seed was a common impurity in white clover seed, especially home grown seed.


Control is by hoeing to prevent seeding. In row crops the weed is easily dealt with but in leys plants may need to be hand pulled.

Only pure crop seed should be sown.

Updated October 2007.

Fully referenced review