Common storksbill is an annual or biennial weed with a beautiful flower. The annual version’s stem is usually low and almost unbranched while the overwintering biennial version can grow to knee-height and is often very branched.

Common storksbill resembles cranesbill, but it can be differentiated by e.g. its long, pinnately lobed leaves and slightly irregular corolla. The clearest difference is probably in the fruit: in common storksbill all five carpels break off and get distance from the stem when their long tips begins to curl like a corkscrew when they are ripe. The tip is sensitive to changes in humidity: in dry weather it curls tightly while in rain it straightens out. This movement can help the carpel bore down into the soil, and the corkscrew can attach itself to passing animals or people.