Geranium maculatumor

Geranium maculatumor

Geranium maculatum

The common geranium, or germanone, is a hardy perennial that grows in most temperate zones of the world. As an annual, the geranium maculatum, or wild geranium, grows and flowers abundantly in a single year, giving rise to the common name. There are multiple species of the wild geranium.The plant has been used in herbal medicine, and is also grown as a garden plant. Wild geranium is considered an astringent, a substance that causes contraction of the tissues and stops bleeding. The Mesquakie Indians brewed a root tea for toothache and for painful nerves and mashed the roots for treating hemorrhoids.Mostly found in woodlands in the wild, it does just as well in full sun! Interestingly, Geranium maculatum has a unique way of spreading its seeds. Each seed is packed into a pod and the pods are attached to a structure that resembles a crane's bill. As the bill dries, it literally catapults the seeds away from the parent plant (see corresponding photo). Each seed has a small tail-like structure attached to it that bends and moves in response to changes in humidity, which helps to drive the seed into the soil where it can safely germinate.


Q Lori • July 28 I've got Geranium maculatum planted in quite a few spots in my yard. I got them from Prairie Moon probably about 8 years ago. It looks great everywhere in the spring. After the flowers are done, I cut them back. Now (July), they look fine almost everywhere (they are a bit more sparse and have a some spots on them, but overall, still look decent). But there is one spot where they are extremely leggy and sparse. I'm trying to figure out why? Do they likely need to be divided...not enough nutrients...nearing the end of their life?Geraniums are recognized by their palmately-lobed leaves and distinctive capsules. Bicknell's Cranesbill (G. bicknellii) has much smaller flowers, notched petals, and more finely cut leaves. It too is found in the Northeast and Midwest. A more southerly species, the closely related Carolina Geranium (G. carolinianum), occurs from Florida to New England and westward to Kansas and Wyoming. It has a more compact flower cluster. The common name cranesbill, as well as the genus name, from the Greek geranos ("a crane"), relate to the bill-like capsule. A number of species are naturalized from Europe.

Geranium is derived from the Greek word geranos, meaning crane. Though this name seems curious, it actually refers to the shape of the seed pod, not the flower. The papery seed capsules, which split lengthwise into five long peels, resemble a crane or stork. Cranesbill and Storksbill are two common names for Wild Geranium describing this likeness.Wild Geranium is valued as a useful astringent and hemostatic. The roots contain large amounts of tannin, which is a bitter-tasting polyphenol produced by the plant. Polyphenols bind and precipitate proteins explaining its properties as both an astringent and styptic. When applied topically, an astringent binds to the mucous membrane causing it to constrict or shrink. This process serves the dual purpose of both protecting the area to which it was applied and promoting healing. A hemostatic is any agent that stops bleeding through mild coagulation of skin proteins. (Source:wp.stolaf.edu)



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