Description: Annual or perennial herbs or shrubs, with simple often glandular hairs.
Leaves opposite or alternate, simple and mostly variously toothed or lobed or occasionally compound; petiolate, stipulate.
Inflorescences terminal cymose umbels, or flowers paired or solitary. Flowers actinomorphic or zygomorphic, bisexual, usually 5-merous. Sepals 5, ± mucronate, sometimes basally fused and prolonged into a basal nectariferous spur, persistent and often slightly enlarged in fruit. Petals 5, free, imbricate. Stamens usually 10 in 2 whorls, a varying number sterile; anthers 2-locular, dehiscing by longitudinal slits, introrse. Ovary superior, usually 5-locular and 5-lobed; ovules 2 in each loculus; style 5-lobed.
Fruit a schizocarp [or capsule] separating into 5 mericarps, each 1-seeded and surmounted by an awn which separate from the central column of the style.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 7 genera, c. 750 species, cosmopolitan, widespread in temperate regions and higher altitudes in tropical regions. Australia: 3 genera, c. 36 species, all States.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Geraniaceae, Order: Geraniales)
A number of species are cultivated as ornamental plants, and some of these have escaped and have become naturalized. Note: fruit measurements include the mericarp plus the awn.
Text by G. J. Harden
| ||Key to the genera|| |
|1||Inflorescences consistently 1- or 2-flowered; fertile stamens 10; awn of fruit glabrous on inner surface||Geranium|
|Inflorescences usually more than 2-flowered; fertile stamens 3–8; awn of fruit hairy on inner surface||2|
|2||Flowers more or less actinomorphic with no sepaline spur; fertile stamens 5 and flowers commonly blue, purple, pink to mauve or rarely white; inflorescences 1–7-flowered||Erodium|
|Flowers more or less zygomorphic with posterior sepal prolonged into a nectariferous spur fused to pedicel (sometimes small and difficult to see in dried material); flowers pink and either fertile stamens 6–8, or if fertile stamens 3–5 then inflorescences usually more than 6-flowered; inflorescences 2–14-flowered|
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