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Genus Geranium Family Geraniaceae
Common Name: Cranesbills, geraniums

Description: Annual or perennial herbs or shrubs, usually with one or more leaf-bearing stems from which arise 1 or more flowering stems.

Leaves opposite or alternate, usually simple and pinnately or palmately lobed or dissected or pinnately compound; leaves becoming smaller up stems.

Flowers in pairs or solitary. Flowers actinomorphic. Sepals 5, not spurred. Petals 5, pink to purplish or rarely white. Fertile stamens 10 [or rarely only 5 fertile]. Glands alternating with the petals.

Mericarps separating so that the seed is exposed; awn curved or coiled towards apex, glabrous inside.


Distribution and occurrence: World: 250–300 species, chiefly temperate regions but extending into tropical mountains. Australia: c. 16 species (9 species endemic, 4 species naturalized), all States.

Text by G. J. Harden
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Geranium gardneri,    Geranium robertianum,    Geranium sp. 2 sensu Smith & Walsh, Fl. Victoria 1999,    Geranium sp. 4 sensu Smith & Walsh Fl. of Vic. (1999)

 Key to the species 
1Flowers mostly in pairs2
Flowers solitary7
2Mericarps glabrous and wrinkled3
Mericarps hirsute to pilose, smooth
                       Back to 1
3Petals 4–5 mm long; basal leaves more or less palmatifid with primary lobes divided to about halfwayGeranium molle
Petals 6–9 mm long; basal leaves more or less pinnatisect to ternate, with primary lobes divided more or less to the midrib
                       Back to 2
Geranium purpureum
4Awn of the mericarps with conspicuous glandular hairs; seeds pale brownGeranium dissectum
Awn of the mericarps with mostly non-glandular hairs and sometimes some minute glandular ones; seeds black to dark brown
                       Back to 2
5Pedicels with hairs retrorse-appressed in the flowering stage; seeds dark brown or black with pits more or less elongated or equal-sided6
Pedicels with hairs retrorse-reflexed or spreading, never appressed, stiff; seeds black with large more or less equal-sided pits
                       Back to 4
Geranium solanderi
6Leaves with lobes broad; taproot branched, not turnip-like; seeds dark brown with more or less elongated pitsGeranium homeanum
Leaves with usually linear lobes; taproot turnip-like; seeds black or very dark brown with equal-sided pits
                       Back to 5
Geranium retrorsum
7Flowering stems usually shorter than the basal leaves or reduced to a single peduncle and pedicel; seeds black, smooth or with minute pits8
Flowering stems usually longer than the basal leaves; seeds dark brown or black, pits distinct
                       Back to 1
8Pedicels with hairs retrorse-appressed; petals oblong to narrow-elliptic, 4–8 mm long, 1–3 mm wideGeranium sessiliflorum
Pedicels with hairs antrorse-appressed; petals obovate, 6–12 mm long, 3–5 mm wide
                       Back to 7
Geranium antrorsum
9Taproot swollen and more or less turnip-shaped; sepals obtuse or acute to acuminate, 2–5 mm wide10
Taproot not turnip-shaped; sepals distinctly mucronate, 1–2.5 mm wide
                       Back to 7
10Sepals obtuse; seeds dark brown with small obscure pits; plants softly hairy; restricted species, higher altitudes from the A.C.T. to the Kosciusko areaGeranium obtusisepalum
Sepals acute to acuminate; seeds black, with coarse pits; plants hirsute; widespread species
                       Back to 9
Geranium solanderi
11Petals 13–15 mm long; peduncle and pedicel together c. 8 cm longGeranium neglectum
Petals 4–6 mm long; peduncle and pedicel together less than 5 cm long
                       Back to 9
12Petals completely white; seeds black with large pitsGeranium graniticola
Petals almost always pink or tinged with pink, or if completely white then the seeds dark brown with small pits
                       Back to 11
Geranium potentilloides

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