Saturday, March 26, 2016

Carolina Cranesbill/Wild Geranium (Geranium carolinianum)



Wild geranium (Geranium carolinianum) is a native weedy wildflower found throughout the state and all of the U.S. and lower tier of Canadian provinces. This wild relative of our common horticultural geraniums is a relatively short-lived annual that makes its appearance in spring and is generally gone by mid-summer.  It is common to most upland sites, especially disturbed sites and urban landscapes.
Wild geranium has the distinctive deeply lobed foliage of its showier cousins, The stems are somewhat prostrate, hairy, and rarely stand taller than 1.5 feet tall.
Flowering occurs mostly in late winter until summer. The pinkish 5-petal flowers occur at the ends of the growing stems and are only about 1/4 inch in diameter.  The flowers are pollinated mostly by small bees and quickly form beaked fruits that reach about 1/2 inch in length. The shape of these fruits is what gives this plant its other common name - cranesbill.
Wild geranium is generally considered a weed and is not propagated purposely. It's showier cousin, spotted geranium (G. maculatum)  has been reported in Florida only in Gadsden County and is listed as a state-endangered species.

1 comment:

  1. I recently saw this plant in Sebastopol, Ca. The most fascinating thing is watching the seeds after they emerge from the "cranes bill".
    The seed is at at the base of the bill with a long straight tail that curls immediately. The seed continues to slowly spiral into a tight corkscrew with a barbed end. Hairs project upwards so that as the seed burrows into the soil it is held in place. The corkscrew expands and contracts with the variation in temperature from day to night aiding its penetration of the earth.

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