Pelargonium [genus] (6,408)
P. abrotanifolium (702)
P. acetosum (657)
Synonyms: Pelargonium acetosum Soland.
P. alchemilloides (734)
Synonyms: Geranium alchemilloides L.
P. anceps (233)
P. capitatum (1,477)
P. crispum (782)
Synonyms: Pelargonium crispum (Berg.) L’Hérit.
P. cucullatum (787)
Synonyms: Pelargonium acerifolium L’Hér.
P. cv. (1,968)
Synonyms: Pelargonium x limoneum Sweet
P. denticulatum (703)
P. echinatum (627)
P. endlicherianum (182)
P. exstipulatum (274)
P. fragrans (1,075)
Synonyms: Pelargonium x fragransWilld., Pelargonium fragrans Will d. P. fulgidum (661)
P. gibbosum (738)
P. glutinosum (623)
P. grandiflorum (213)
P. graveolens (2,232)
P. grossularioides (765)
P. hirtum (476)
Synonyms: Geranium hirtum Willd.
P. incrassatum (579)
Synonyms: Pelargonium roseum(Andrews) DC
P. inquinans (868)
P. monoliforme (226)
P. odoratissimum (1,289)
P. peltatum (1,290)
P. pinnatum (208)
P. quercifolium (981)
P. radens (1,379)
Synonyms: Pelargonium radula L’Hér.
P. scabrum (733)
P. tetragonum (715)
P. tomentosum (676)
P. triste (1,101)
Synonyms: Geranium triste L.
P. vitifolium (643)
P. x citrosum (426)
Synonyms: Pelargonium citriodorumSchrank
P. x domesticum (769)
P. x glaucifolium (449)
P. x hortorum (2,435)
P. x jatrophifolum (397)
P. x mellissinum (468)
P. x nervosum (550)
P. x rutaceum (418)
P. zonale (562)



Pelargonium [genus] L’Hér. ex Ait. GERANIACEAE

Common names: Geranium, Storksbill (Hortus)

S Africa; 280 spp. Ann. or per. herbs or shrubs. Lvs. entire, lobed or dissected, stipules usually prominent. Infl. a 1- to many-fld. umbel, terminal, axillary or opp. the lvs. Fls. irreg., calyx with a spur united to the pedicel, sepals 5, petals 5, rarely 4 or 2, upper pair usually larger, stamens 10, 5-7 with fertile anthers, the rest only filaments. Fruit 5-valved, the valves coiling upward as they dehisce. Commonly grown as house and bedding plants. Many hybrids & cvs. (Hortus Third 1976: 832). Mostly S Africa, a few from trop. Africa, Australia, Middle East; 250 spp. Stem sometimes succulent or swollen. Lvs. alt., pinnate or palmate, simple or compound, sometimes aromatic. Fls. in a pseudo-umbel, petals usually clawed, two upper petals usually larger than lower 3 (Griffiths 1994: 851). S Africa, trop. Africa; 250 spp. Also 1 each Canaries, St. Helena, Tristan, E Medit., S Arabia, S India, Australia, New Zealand. Unlike Geranium & Erodium, this genus has the partial infl. in a dichasial umbel (Willis 1973: 864). Differs from Geranium in irreg. fls., and 5-7 of the anthers fertile, the rest just filaments. Sometimes with tuberous roots. Sometimes succulent, and such plants often have stipular spines, reduced lvs. Some spp. have scented lvs. due to essential oils, thought to deter animal-grazers (Mabberley 1998: 536) Has long been v. popular as a garden plant. The spp. in the orig. genus Geranium became widely known under that name, though now most of them have been removed to Pelargonium. From a popular point of view, the Pelargoniums of the botanist are better known as geraniums than are the geraniums themselves. One obvious diff. is that fls. of Pelargonium are irreg., the upper 2 petals being larger, smaller, or differently marked than the lower 3; occasionally the 3 lower petals are wanting. Breeding has given the fls. increased size, usually with enlargement of the lower 3 petals; sometimes v. nearly regular. Another well-marked diff. is that in Pelargonium, the back or dorsal sepal has a hollow spur which is adnate to the fl. stalk for its whole length. Cut through the fl.-stalk just behind the flower: in Pelargonium the hollow tube of the spur may be seen, in Geranium the stalk is a solid mass. Other chars. also: absence of the glandules, declension of the stamens. The ornamental ones are usually shrubby or sub-shrubby (Encyclopaedia Britannica 1893: Geranium). Mr. Darwin has thrown considerable light on the question of how the glands of plants that are not adapted to capture insects can absorb their prods. as in Droseraceae. Two spp. of Saxifrage [Saxifragaceae], one of Primula [Primulaceae] and one of Pelargonium have glands that can absorb rapidly, and they also exhibit aggregation of protoplasm like Drosera. Those of Erica [Ericaceae], Mirabilis [Nyctaginaceae] and Nicotiana [Solanaceae] do not have these properties. Glandular hairs of at least some plants have been shown to absorb ammonia, both in sol’n and in vapor. These plants may be able to obtain animal matter from insects caught in their viscid secretions (Encyclopaedia Britannica 1893: Insectivorous Plants). Under the popular name ‘geranium’, some of the spp. & their innumerable vars. & hybrids were intro. in Eu. gardens & houses, starting the end of the 17th cent. In US grow mostly descendants of P. inquinans & P. zonale, also in hanging boxes those from P. peltatum, and the ones with scented foliage, P. radens, P. graveolens, P. odoratissimum. ‘Pelargoniums’ are more popular in Eu., P. cucullatum and P. grandiflorum (Encyclopedia Americana. 1954: Pelargonium). Widely grown in homes & gardens. In CA may become bush-sized (World Book Encyclopedia. 1965: Geranium). Some are v. aromatic, esp. P. radens. Some of them have been grown expt. in Java & S India on dry hills in the tropics; most cannot live in Singapore (Burkill 1966: Vol. 2 page 1713). Lvs. of the scented spp. are put in pot-pourri. Also to flavor jellies, desserts. Some cooks put a leaf in the bottom of a cake pan. Some other scented pelargoniums are suggestive of pine, others of apricot or coconut. Easily grown from cuttings. In warm but not hot climates, do well outside year round if not subject to heavy rains. Allow to bloom early spring, then pinch back. Geranium oil is important in manuf. of perfume, distilled from a number of spp., some of which have unappealing odor or are scentless (Morton 1976: 26). Several spp. are cult. for perfume in N Africa & S Eu. Prop. by cuttings, plants live several years where there is no frost. Harvest by hand in Algeria or with mowing machines in France. Harvest in April-June and Oct.-Nov. After cutting the foliage is dried, then distilled. Yield 1 g oil per 1,000 g foliage. The principal constituent in geraniol. Much used as an extender or subst. for rose oil, other expensive essences. Also to perfume soaps, other prods (Schery 1972: 270). Used to prevent mosquitoes from biting, and thus to prevent disease. Also Betula [Betulaceae] oil, Pinus [Pinaceae] oil, Mentha [Labiatae] oil, Rosmarinus [Labiatae] extract & others (Tunón, Thorsell & Bohlin 1994: 111). In 1929 researchers reported that Japanese beetles that ate garden geraniums fell to the ground in a stupor that lasted up to 8 hours. Daniel A. Potter & David W Held are studying learning in beetles. Generally beetles with wide-ranging tastes are most likely to learn to avoid noxious foods. Although Japanese beetles eat nearly 300 US plant spp., they do not avoid geraniums. The fl. petals esp. of plants in full sunlight are the most narcotic; color seems unimportant. Water extract of lvs. also stunned the beetles. Beetle pairs offered a choice between geranium fls. and linden [Tilia, Tiliaceae] lvs., ate the geraniums so often that they laid only half as many eggs as pairs given only linden lvs. (Science News 1998: 366)


GERANIACEAE Pelargonium capitatum

Pelargonium capitatum (L.) L’Hér. ex Ait. GERANIACEAE

Common names: Rose-Scented Geranium (Hortus)

S Africa. Stems to 1 ft., weak & trailing, woody at base. Lvs. to 2” across, cordate, 3-5-lobed above the middle, softly long-hairy, long-petioled. Umbels capitate, 9-20-fld., fls. sessile, calyx spur as long as sepals, petals rose, the upper veined with red-purple, to 0.8” long, the lower smaller, not veined (Hortus Third 1976: 833). Distilled for its oil, like P. radens. This is the only one that can survive in Singapore, needs care. Malay women sometimes hide the lvs. in their hair for the fragrance; call it jeremin from ‘geranium’ (Burkill 1966: Vol. 2 page 1713). Rose [Rosa, Rosaceae] scent. Distilled for the oil, used in manuf. of perfume (Morton 1976: 27). Cult. for oil in N Africa, S Eu. (Schery 1972: 270). Widely cult. in cool regions as a garden ornamental & flavoring herb. Nat. in Bermuda, CA. Costa Rica, fresh or dried lvs. sold by herb vendors. Decoction as a bath to relieve skin troubles. Petals & lvs. dried, used to flavor herb ‘teas’. Geranium oil, distilled commercially from lvs. & stems, is used as a scent in perfume, soap (Morton 1981: Vol. 1 page 358). Valid species (GRIN 2006)


GERANIACEAE Pelargonium crispum

Pelargonium crispum (L.) L’Hér. ex Ait. GERANIACEAE

Synonyms: Pelargonium crispum (Berg.) L’Hérit.

Common names: Lemon Geranium (Griffiths)

S Africa. Woody to 3 ft., lemon-scented. Lvs. many, small, 3-lobed, to 1” long, margin crisped. Umbel 1-3-fld., calyx spur to 0.4” long, as long as sepals, petals rose or rose-white, upper broader and deeply veined (Hortus Third 1976: 833). Lvs. to 1.5 cm, appearing 2-ranked, reniform, sometimes obscurely 3-lobed, rough, lemon-scented. Bloom spring-summer (Griffiths 1994: 852). Pleasingly fragrant. Distilled for the oil, used in manuf. of perfume (Morton 1976: 27). Valid species (GRIN 2006)


GERANIACEAE Pelargonium cv.

Pelargonium cv. ‘Lady Mary’ GERANIACEAE

Synonyms: Pelargonium x limoneum Sweet

Common names: English Finger-Bowl Geranium (Hortus) Lemon Geranium (Bailey)

P. x limoneum: A hybrid derived from P. crispum. Lvs. 3-5-lobed, more strongly toothed, less crisped, upper petals bright lilac tinged with purple, dark-veined and spotted with violet in the center, the lower pale lilac, unspotted. Lemon-scented (Hortus Third 1976: 934). P. limoneum: soft foliage has a lemon [Citrus, Rutaceae] or balsam odor. Prob. partly from the pink-fld., lemon-scented P. crispum (Morton 1976: 27). For insect bites and stings, I confess I’m much opposed to DEET. It dissolves my plastic glasses, and once on the skin, it quickly passes through the skin into the bloodstream, where I don’t want synthetic chemicals with tongue -twister names. At the Amazonian Center for Environmental Education and Research camp on the Napo River of Peru where I conduct some of my workshops they prohibit any use of DEET. This has nothing to do with its effect on people. They’ve banned the chemical because it speeds the deterioration of the synthetic fibers that hold up the canopy walkway that meanders through the tree branches, sometimes 100 feet above the forest floor (Duke 1997:290) Something about plants with citrus-like aromatic qualities repels insects. The Citrosa geranium, for example, which has a strong citrus smell, has 30-40% of the repellent power of DEET; crushed lemon thyme [Thymus citriodora, Labiatae] also. You might be able to customize an insect repellent that will also serve as a scent that is pleasing to you. I mean this for men, too; many men’s colognes feature citrus scents (Duke 1997:292) Neither taxon nor synonym in GRIN (GRIN 2006)


GERANIACEAE Pelargonium fragrans

Pelargonium Fragrans Group GERANIACEAE

Synonyms: Pelargonium x fragrans Willd., Pelargonium fragrans Willd.

Common names: Nutmeg Geranium (Hortus)

P. x fragrans: Similar to P. odoratissimum, not easily distinguished, but branches generally more woody, lvs. 3-lobed above the middle. Fls. slightly larger, calyx spur twice as long as sepals, petals more prominently spotted and veined with red. Nutmeg [Myristica, Myristicaceae] scent (Hortus Third 1976: 834). Lvs. with spicy scent (Griffiths 1994: 852). Pleasingly fragrant; lvs. have scent of rose [Rosa, Rosaceae] & tansy [Tanacetum, Compositae]. Distilled for the oil, used in manuf. of perfume. Some say it is a hybrid of P. odoratissimum x P. exstipulatum (Morton 1976: 27). P. fragrans: Cult. for oil in N Africa, S Eu. (Schery 1972: 270). P. fragrans is considered an uncertain group; in cult. considered a group or hybrid. Neither taxon nor P. x fragrans in GRIN (GRIN 2006)


GERANIACEAE Pelargonium gibbosum

Pelargonium gibbosum (L.) L’Hér. ex Ait. GERANIACEAE

Common names: Knotted Geranium, Knotted Storksbill (Hortus) Gouty Geranium (Griffiths)

S Africa. Shrubby, stems swollen at nodes. Lvs. pinnately divided to 3” long, glaucous, glabrous, stipules 0.2” long, free from petiole. Umbels 5-10-fld., axillary, peduncles to 4” long, fls. sessile, calyx spur to 1” long, sepals to 0.2” long, petals to 0.8” long, yellow-green, the upper 2 larger (Hortus Third 1976: 834). Scrambling, few-branched, stem succulent to woody, nodes swollen. Fls. scented at night (Griffiths 1994: 852). Valid species (GRIN 2006)


GERANIACEAE Pelargonium graveolens

Pelargonium graveolens L’Hér. ex Ait. GERANIACEAE

Common names: Rose Geranium, Sweet-Scented Geranium (Hortus) Mawah Oil (Mabberley)

S Africa. Woody to 3 ft. Lvs. softly hairy, fragrant, deeply 5-7-lobed, the lobes again lobed and toothed. Umbels 5-10-fld., fls sessile, calyx spurt to 0.3” long, as long as sepals, petals rose, the upper larger, red-spotted and -veined. Material cult. as this sp. is prob. from hybrids with P. radens, including those cult. for commercial geranium oil (Hortus Third 1976: 834). S & NE S Africa. Lvs. rose-scented. Bloom spring-summer. This is the plant found wild in S Africa. Many cvs. assigned to this sp. may be derived from P. capitatum and P. radens (Griffiths 1994: 852). This & others collected comm. in France, Algeria & Réunion. Basis for scent, soaps (Mabberley 1998: 536) Also distilled for its oil, like P. radens (Burkill 1966: Vol. 2 page 1713). Pleasingly fragrant; lvs. have the aroma of rose & rue [Ruta, Rutaceae], or rose & balsam [Abies?, Pinaceae]. Distilled for the oil, used in manuf. of perfume. One of the cvs. is called Camphor Rose, scent of camphor [Cinnamomum, Lauraceae] (Morton 1976: 27). One of the most common of the rose geraniums. Widely cult. as an ornamental & in herb gardens. Lvs. sold by herbalists in Caracas & Valencia, Venezuela; decoction valued for bathing the body. NM, lvs. mashed with vinegar & salt, bound on the forehead for headache. Also warmed lvs. stuffed in the ear for earache. All parts of the plant except the petals contain citronellol and geraniol. A fresh leaf often used domestically to flavor jelly. Commercially cult. in Eu., N & cent. Africa, India, El Salvador & elsewhere for distillation of geranium oil for food flavoring and as scent for perfume, soap, various toilet prods. (Morton 1981: Vol. 1 page 359). In Ecuador the aromatic lvs. are said to have medicinal props. (von Reis and Lipp 1982:142). Valid species (GRIN 2006)


GERANIACEAE Pelargonium inquinans

Pelargonium inquinans (L.) L’Hér. ex Ait. GERANIACEAE

Common names: Fish Geranium (Morton)

S Africa. Shrubby, stems fleshy. Lvs. cordate-orbicular, crenate, softly hairy. Umbels many-fld., calyx spur several times as long as sepals, densely glandular & long-hairy, petals 0.8” long, usually deep red or pale rose. One of the principal parents of P. x hortorum, the species itself prob. not cult. (Hortus Third 1976: 834). The red-fld. vars. most commonly grown [? P. x hortorum] are believed to be largely from this sp. Velvety foliage has a distinctly fishy odor (Morton 1976: 27). In S. Africa used as cold and headache cure by tribespeople (von Reis and Lipp 1982:142). Valid species (GRIN 2006)


GERANIACEAE Pelargonium odoratissimum

Pelargonium odoratissimum (L.) L’Hér. ex Ait. GERANIACEAE

Common names: Apple Geranium (Hortus) Nutmeg Geranium (Bailey) Mawah Oil (Mabberley)

S Africa. Plant sprawling, branches to 1.5 ft. long. Lvs. 1” across, cordate, crenate, fragrant. Umbels 5-10-fld., calyx spur to 0.3” long, little longer than sepals, petals to 0.4” long, white sometimes veined with red. Often confused with P. x fragrans, hybridizes with it. A source of geranium oil (Hortus Third 1976: 835). In Algeria, the oil distilled from this sp. is used as a subst. for otto of roses (Willis 1973: 864). This & others collected comm. in France, Algeria & Réunion. Basis for scent, soaps (Mabberley 1998: 536) Distilled for its oil, like P. radens (Burkill 1966: Vol. 2 page 1713). Pleasingly fragrant. Distilled for the oil, used in manuf. of perfume (Morton 1976: 27). Cult. for oil in N Africa, S Eu. (Schery 1972: 270). Lvs. with apple [Malus, Rosaceae] scent, covered with a felt of grayish hairs (Morton 1976: 27). Intro. in Brazil, cult. on a modest scale. Its essential oil consists mainly of geraniol (Mors & Rizzini 1966). Valid species (GRIN 2006)


GERANIACEAE Pelargonium peltatum

Pelargonium peltatum (L.) L’Hér. ex Ait. GERANIACEAE

Common names: Ivy Geranium, Hanging Geranium (Hortus)

S Africa. Trailing or climbing branches to 3 ft. long. Lvs. to 3” across, peltate, broadly ovate, shallowly 5-angled or -lobed, sometimes zoned with red. Umbels axillary, 5-7-fld., fls. short-pedicelled, calyx spur more than twice as long as sepals, petals rose-carmine to white, the upper dark-veined, 0.8” long, longer than the lower. Thrive outdoors in CA (Hortus Third 1976: 835). Widely cult. in temp. & subtrop. regions of both hemispheres. V. popular in N S Am. Leafy stems sold by herb vendors in Venezuela, decoction used to bathe the skin. In S Africa, leaf juice used as an astringent & antiseptic, esp. to treat sore throat. Lvs. contain potassium oxalate & free oxalic acid (Morton 1981: Vol. 1 page 360). At the Cape of Good Hope the buds and acid lvs. are eaten (Sturtevant 1972: 412). Valid species (GRIN 2006)


GERANIACEAE Pelargonium x domesticum

Pelargonium x domesticum L.H. Bailey GERANIACEAE

Common names: Show Geranium, Fancy Geranium, Lady Washington Geranium, Martha Washington Geranium, Pansy Flowered Geranium, Summer Azalea, Regal Geranium (Hortus) Regal Pelargonium (Mabberley)

A cultigen of complex hybrid origin, largely from P. cucullatum and P. grandiflorum, with many fancy-named cvs. used primarily by florists. Stems long to 1.5 ft., soft-hairy throughout. Lvs. to 4” across, obscurely lobed & toothed. Fls. few to many, large, petals white, pink, red or purple, the 2 upper with dark blotches and veins (Hortus Third 1976: 834). Listed (NRCS database 2004) Taxon not in GRIN (GRIN 2006)


GERANIACEAE Pelargonium x hortorum

Pelargonium x hortorum L. H. Bailey GERANIACEAE

Common names: Fish Geranium, Zonal Geranium, House Geranium, Horseshoe Geranium, Bedding Geranium (Hortus) Geranium (Griffiths) Zonal Pelargonium (Mabberley) Stinking Cranesbill (Gordon)

A cultigen of complex hybrid origin, largely from P. inquinans and P. zonale, familiar in hort. as a garden culture group. Used as pot plants and for bedding. Stems to 2 ft., succulent. Lvs. rounded to reniform, to 5” across, cordate, scalloped and crenate-toothed, often zoned or variegated. Umbels densely many-fld., calyx spur elongate, petals nearly equal, red, pink, salmon or white, usually uniform in color (Hortus Third 1976: 834). Complex of hybrids from P. inquinans x P. zonale (Griffiths 1994: 853). Lvs. with fishy odor (Bailey & Bailey 1941: 544). Many cvs. including even a haploid, ‘Kleine Liebling’, with n 9, roots diploid (Mabberley 1998: 536) We keep Stinking Cranesbill [may be this sp.] firmly outside the garden gate (Gordon 1977: 119). P. zonale: Dried lvs. sold by herb vendors in Cuba, steeped to make a tea, regarded as a tonic [prob. should be here] (Morton 1976: 27). P. zonale: Lvs. & stalks are eaten in Yemen (Sturtevant 1972: 412). Almost universally grown as an ornamental, indoors & out. Many named cvs. Nat. in Costa Rica, Guatemala. In Guatemala, fresh lvs. boiled with cinnamon [Cinnamomum, Lauraceae], decoction taken to stop hemorrhages (Morton 1981: Vol. 1 page 359). Grown in almost every Guatemalan garden, in pots, or more often in open ground, where the plants may reach 2 m or more and become decidedly woody. Nat. in hedges, etc., thrive with little or no attention. Some years ago, the Jefe Político of San Marcos planted thousands along the Carretera Internacional. The plants did not thrive, though many still remain; however in neighboring door-yards thousands of plants receive little attention and make a better show. In Guatemala, geranium lvs. are applied as poultices to sores & ulcers, said to heal them quickly (Flora of Guatemala 1946: 373). Listed (NRCS database 2004) Taxon not in GRIN (GRIN 2006)



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