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Geranium maculatum (Spotted geranium)
Smith, R.W.

Geranium maculatum

Geranium maculatum L.

Spotted Geranium, Wild Geranium, Cranesbill

Geraniaceae (Geranium Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Showy, pink, five-petaled flowers, occur at the top of leafy, 1-3 ft. stem. Lavender flowers are in loose clusters of 2-5 at the ends of branches above a pair of deeply 5-lobed leaves. In addition to its flowers, this perennial is well known for its 5- to 6-parted, deeply cut leaves. It colonizes by thick rhizomes but is not aggressive.

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.


From the Image Gallery

71 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Retention: Semi-evergreen
Fruit Type: Schizocarp
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Flower: Flowers 1 to 1.5 inches across.
Fruit: Shaped like an upraised crane's bill, 1 inch.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: Color ranges from pink to white to lavender. deadheading will prolong bloom.


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: MB , NL , NS , ON , QC
Native Distribution: Newfoundland, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Ontario, ME to GA, w. to Man., s.e. SD, e. KS & AR
Native Habitat: Dry or moist woods; woodland edges; dappled meadows

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Rich, acid
Conditions Comments: Wild geranium does well under a variety of conditions.


Use Ornamental: Good for Eastern shade gardens, fern gardens, and woodland slopes.
Use Wildlife: Seeds attract Mourning Doves, Bobwhite Quail, and White-tailed Deer
Use Medicinal: Entire plant was boiled to make tea for diarrhea. (Weiner) Roots steeped in water used as a rinse for diarrhea and inflamed gums. (Weiner) Tea used as rinse for sore throat, thrush, and mouth ulcers.(Weiner) Dried, powdered roots applied to bleeding blood vessels to promote coagulation. (Weiner)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds
Deer Resistant: No

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Propagation Material: Root Division , Seeds
Description: Seeds may be sown outside in late fall or the following spring without any cold treatment. The species may also be propagated by rhizome division in either fall or early spring. The rhizomes often form right angles, simplifying division.
Seed Collection: The fruiting structure begins to darken 3-4 weeks after the bloom period. Collect at this time and place in a paper bag, where they will split open and release small, dark-brown seeds. Store in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: No treatment necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Longwood Gardens - Kennett Square, PA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 1207 - Earth Medicine, Earth Food (1990) Michael A. Weiner
Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Geranium maculatum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Geranium maculatum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Geranium maculatum


Record Modified: 2023-05-31
Research By: TWC Staff

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