A large and variable complex, with at least three subspecies, viz. E.c. subsp. cicutarium (syn. E. salzmannii and primulaceum), E.c. subsp. bipinnatum (syn. E. staphylinum and sabulicola) and E.c. subsp. jacquinianum (syn. E. aethiopicum). Apart from botanical differences, plants seen both in the garden and in the wild exhibit a variety of habit, from almost prostrate to upright and almost 30cm tall. They are usually annual, but come readily from seed, and indeed self-sow, autumn-sown seedlings surviving all but the hardest frosts. Flowers may be found at most times of the year. They are, or can be, caulescent, so that the more prostrate forms can sprawl into mats. Leaves 5-15cm long, pinnate to bipinnate without intercalaries, the segments acute, green, red-stemmed, ferny, attractive. Flowers nine or ten, up to 2cm across, clear bright rose, the upper petals sometimes lightly blotched. Widespread in Europe including Britain, in sandy ground.