Wild Geranium

Geranium maculatum Geraniaceae

Other names

Wild Cranesbill, Spotted Cranesbill, Alumroot

Growth habit

Herbaceous

Perennation

Perennial

Native distribution

Native to the Finger Lakes Region, North America

Cultivation

A 12-18" tall plant with pink flowers.
Light: sun to light shade
Moisture and Soil: moist to dry - plant rhizome near soil surface

Propagation

Seed Treatment and Storage: Store seed moist and provide cold/moist stratification. Germinates in first year if seeds do not dry out; may take 2 years if they dessicate

Biocultural value

A powerful astringent, it has been used by the Iroquois to treat mouth sores, sore throat, diarrhea and venereal disease. Wild geranium was used by the Cherokee, Choctaw, Haudenosaunee, Menominee, Meskwaki, and Ojibwa for medicinal purposes, including for relief from a sore mouth, as a laxative, as an antiseptic, and as an emetic.

The statements above were sourced from:

Fernald, Merritt Lyndon, and Alfred Charles Kinsey Kinsey. 1958. Edible Wild Plants of Eastern North America. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Harper and Row.

Wildlife value

A specialist mining bee, Andrena distans, collects pollen only from flowers in the genus Geranium. Other bees, including small carpenter bees (Ceratina spp.), sweat bees (Lasioglossum spp.), bumble bees (Bombus spp.), sweat bees (Halictus spp.) and mason bees (Osmia spp.) also visit wild geranium flowers. Fruitworm beetles (Byturus unicolor) mate on the flowers and also feed on the nectar and pollen. Wild geranium is a larval host plant for the leafmining moth (Parectopa geraniella) and the white-marked tussock moth (Orgyia leucostigma).

Climate change sensitivity

Over the period from 1986 to 2015, Geranium maculatum bloomed an average of 1.3 days later.

Location

Mundy Wildflower Garden, Robison Herb Garden, Coy Glen, Fischer Old-growth Forest, McLean Bogs, Eames Bog, Ringwood Ponds, South Hill Swamp

Source of plant

Pam Shade, Richters

Description

Plants reach 2' in height, the stems appressed-pubescent; leaves deeply 3-5-parted; inflorescence erect, terminal, branched, the pedicels glandless, strigose; flowers 1" across, the petals rose-purple, entire, barbate-ciliate at the base, the filaments short-ciliate.

USDA Hardiness Zone

3

Special characteristics

medicinal/pharmaceutical

Status

L4|S5|G5