Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)

Named either after Robert, Duke of Normandy, who commissioned a herbal in 1490, or from the Latin ruber, red, after the flower colour. Its foxy smell gives it the country name Stinking Bob. It is associated with goblins, and known as Robin Goodfellow and Hop-o’-my-thumb in Somerset. It was traditionally used to stem bleeding, and modern research has shown that it lowers blood sugar levels and so can be useful in the treatment of diabetes. In Devon, South Wales, Yorkshire and parts of Scotland, where it is known as Cancer weed, it is believed to be an effective against cancer, particularly of the skin. An infusion of it is used as an eye lotion and mouthwash. The fresh leaves rubbed on the body repel mosquitoes. It yields a brown dye.