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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Geranium maculatum L.
Spotted geranium, Wild geranium, Cranesbill
USDA Symbol: GEMA
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. Bicknells 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.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Retention: Semi-evergreen Size Notes:
1 to 2 feet high Flower:
Flowers 1 to 1.5 inches across
1 inch Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom 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.
, WV Canada: MB
, QC Native Distribution:
Newfoundland, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Ontario, ME
w. to Man., s.e. SD,
& AR Native Habitat:
Dry or moist woods; woodland edges; dappled meadows
Growing ConditionsWater 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.
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:
Birds Deer Resistant:
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:
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.
Record Last Modified: 2013-09-09
Research By: TWC Staff