Herbs or shrubs swollen and separable at the joints, with stipulate, palmate-veined leaves and symmetrical, hypogynous, 5-merous flowers. Sepals imbricated and petals convolute in aestivation; stamens mostly 10, and monadelphous, the alternate ones often abortive; ovary of 5 sepals, each 2-ovuled, in fruit 1-seeded, cohering to an elongated torus (carpophore) from which they separate, curving upwards on the persistent style.
Genera 4, species 500. Geranium and Erodium inhabit chiefly the Northern temperate zones. Pelargonium abounds at the Cape of Good Hope, and occurs in Australia; and in cultivation is found everywhere.
Stamens 10, - all perfect. Corolla regular.......................
- 5 perfect, 5 alternate imperfect. Cor. reg.......................
- 7 perfect. Corolla irregular...........................
1. GERANIUM, L. Crane's Bill. (Gr. a crane; the beaked fruit resembles a crane's bill.) Sepals and petals 5, regular, stamens 10, all perfect, the 5 alternate ones longer, and each with a nectariferous gland at its base; fruit rostrate, at length separating into 5 long-styled, 1-seeded carpels; styles smooth inside, at length recurved from the base upwards and adhering by the point to the summit of the axis. - Herbaceous, rarely shrubby at the base. Peduncles 1, 2 or 3-flowered.
Petals entire, twice as long as the awned sepals.......................
Nos. 1, 2
Petals notched or 2-lobed, not longer than sepals........................
Nos. 3, 4
1 G. maculatum L. Spotted Geranium. St. erect, angular, dichotomous, re-trorsely pubescent; lvs. palmately 3 - 5-lobed, lobes cuneiform and entire at base, incisely serrate above, radical ones on long petioles, upper ones opposite, on short petioles; petals entire; sep. mucronate-awned. - Woods, etc., U. S. and Can, but rare in X. Eng. A fine species worthy a place among the parlor " geraniums." St. 1 to 2f high. Lvs. 2 to 3' diam., cleft 3/4 way down, 2 at each fork. Fls. mostly in pairs, on unequal pedicels, often somewhat umbeled on the ends of the long peduncles. Root powerfully astringent Apr. - Jn.
2 G. Robertianum L. Herb Robert. St. diffuse, hairy; lvs. pinnately 3-parted to the base, the segm. pinnatifid, and the pinnae incisely toothed; sep. mucronate-awned, half the length of the entire petals. - Smaller than the preceding, in dry, rocky places. Can to Va. and Ky. It has a reddish stem, with long, diffuse, weak branches. Lvs. on long petioles, somewhat hairy, outline 1 1/2 to 3 diam., with pinnatifid segments. Fls. small pale-purple. Capsules small, rugous, keeled. Sds. smooth. The plant has a strong disagreeable smell May - Sept
3 G. puaillum L. St procumbent; lvs. reniform or roundish, deeply 5 to 7-parted, lobes 3-cleft, linear; sep. hairy, awnlss, about as long as the emarginate petals. -
A delicate, spreading species, growing in waste grounds, pastures. etc., L. Isl. and Western N.Y. (Torr). St. weak, 1f long, branching, covered with short, deflected hairs. Lvs. opposite, divided almost to the base into 5 or 7 lobes, these again variously cut Ped. axillary, forked, bearing 2 purplish-red flowers in Jn. and Jl. § Eur.
4 G. Carolinianum L. St. diffusely branched; lvs. deeply 5-parted, lobes incisely toothed; ped. rather short and clustered on the ends of the branches; sep. mucronate-awned, as long as the emarginate petals.- Fields and hills, throughout Can. and U. S. Sts. pubescent diffuse, 8 to 15' long, swelling at the joints. Lvs. 9 to 18" diam., hairy. Fls. small, rose-colored, in pairs, and somewhat fasciculate. Sds. minutely reticulated, reddish-brown, 1 in each hairy, beaked carpel. Jl. (G. dissectum L?).
2. ERODIUM, L'Her. Heron's-bill. (Gr. a heron; from the resemblance of the beaked fruit to the heron's bill.) Calyx 5-leaved; petals 5; filaments 10, the 5 alternate ones abortive; fruit rostrate, of 5, aggregated capsules, tipped with the long, spiral style. bearded inside. - Fls. umbellate.
E. cicutarium Sm. Diffuse, hairy; lvs. pinnately divided, segm. sessile, pinnatifid. incised, acute; ped. several-flowered; petals unequal. - Shores of Oneida Lake, N. Y. Sts. mostly prostrate. Lvs. oblong in outline, with many segments. Fls. 2 to 3" diam. May - Jn. § Eur. Widely diffused in California. .
3. PELARGONIUM, L'Her. (Gr. a stork; from the resemblance of the beaked fruit to a stork's bill.) Sepals 5, the upper one ending in a nectariferous tube extending down the peduncle with which it is connected; petals 5, irregular, longer than the sepals; filaments 10, 3 of them sterile. - A large genus of shrubby or herbaceous plants, embracing more than 300 species, and innumerable varieties, nearly all natives of the Cape of Good Hope. Lower lvs. (in plants raised from the seed) opposite, upper ones alternate.
* Acaulescent (nearly). Rt. tuberous. Lvs. decompound. Pet. yellowish brown
...Nos. 1, 2
* Caulescent. - Stems herbaceous, or somewhat shrubby at base..............
..Nos. 3 - 6
- Stems shrubby - Lvs. neither divided nor angular.............
..Nos. 7 - 9
- Lvs. angular or with shallow jobes.........
Nos. 10 - 14
- Lvs. divided beyond the middle..................
Nos. 15 - 18
1 P. flavum Ait. Carrot-leaved Geranium. St. very simple; lvs. decompound, laciniate, hairy, segm. linear; umbel many-flowered, fls. brownish-yellow.
2 P. triste A. Mourning Geranium. Lvs. hairy, pinnate; 1fts. bipinnatifid, divisions linear, acute; fls. dark-green, in simple umbels.
3 P. odoratissimum A. Nutmeg-scented Geranium. St. velvety, short, fleshy; lvs. roundish, cordate, very soft; branches herbaceous, long, diffuse.- Valued chiefly for the powerful, aromatic smell of the leaves, the flowers being small, whitish.
4 P. alchemilloides A. Ladies' mantle Geranium. St. villous; lvs. cordate, villous, 5-lobed, palmate; ped. few-flowered; stig. sessile. - St. 6' high, diffuse, very hairy, with deflexed bristles. Fls. pink-colored.
5 P. tricolor B. St.suffruticous, erect; lvs. lanceolate, villous, cut-dentate, trifid; upper pet. glandular at base. - St. l 1/2 f high. This species is distinguished for its beautifully variegated fls. Petals roundish and nearly uniform in shape, but very different in color; the three lower ones are white, slightly veined, the 2 upper of a rich purple, almost black at base.
6 P. coriandrifolium Jac. St. herbaceous, biennial, somewhat downy; lvs. bipinnate, smooth, lobes linear, subpinnatifld. - St. diffuse, 1f high. Distinguished by the finely divided leaves and large fls. The 2 upper petals much the largest, obovate, veined with purple, the 3 lower, of which the middle one is often wanting, are narrow and of pure white.
7 P. glaucum L'Her. Very smooth and glaucous; lvs. lanceolate, entire, acuminate; ped. 1 - 2-flowered. - Sts. 3f high, shrubby and branched. The plant is remarkably distinguished by its leaves. Ped. axillary, with 1 or 2 elegant flowers. Petals obovate, of a delicate blush color with red veins.
8 P. betulimim A. Lvs. ovate. unequally serrate, smoothish; stip. ovate-lanceolate; ped. 2 - 4-flowered. - St. shrubby, 3f high. The plant is well named for its leaves. Fls. pale-pink, with deep red veins.
9 P. acetosum A. Lvs. very smooth, obovate, crenate, somewhat fleshy; ped. few-flowered; petals linear. - St. shrubby, 3f high. Named for the acid flavor of the leaves. Fls. pink.
10 P. zonale L. Horse-shoe Geranium. Lvs. cordate-orbicular, obsoletely lobed, toothed, marked with a concentric zone. - St. thick, shrubby, 2 - 3f high. One of the most popular of all the species. The zone upon the leaf is of various shades. The fls. are of a bright scarlet, umbeled, on long peduncles. It has many varieties; of which the most remarkable is
β. marginale; silver-edged; the leaves of which are bordered with white.
11 P. inquinans A. Lvs. round, reniform, scarcely divided, crenate, viscid; umbels many-flowed; petals obovate, crenate. - Justly admired for the vivid scarlet of its numerous flowers. The name alludes to the reddish, clammy moisture which stains the fingers in handling the soft, downy branches.
12 P. peltatum. A. Ivy-leaved Geranium. Lvs. 5-lobed, entire, fleshy, smooth, more or less peltate; umbels few-flowered. - St. climbing, several feet in length. Whole plant very smooth. A beautiful species, with umbels of very handsome purplish flowers.
13 P. tetragonum L'Her. Branches 4-cornered, fleshy; lvs. cordate, bluntly lobed, somewhat toothed; pet. 4, the upper ones pale-pink, with crimson veins, the 2 lower small, white. - Lvs. small, rounded, notched, with scattered hairs.
14 P. Watsonii Link. Lvs. orbicular, cordate, somewhat lobed, crenate-dentate, undulate at the margin; stip. acute, cordate, and somewhat toothed.- Fls. large, purple, variegated, several together.
15 P. grandiflorum W. Smooth, glaucous; lvs. 5-lobed, palmated, cordate at base, the lobes dentate toward the end; petals 3 times as long as the calyx.- Distinguished for the size and beauty of the flowers, which are white, the 2 upper ones elegantly veined, and tinged with red, larger than the rest.
16 P. graveolens A. Rose-scented Geranium. Lvs. palmately 7-lobed, lobes oblong, bluntly toothed, revolute, and very rough at the edge; umbels many-flowered, capitate. - Nectary about half as long as calyx. Lvs. very fragrant. Fls. purple.
17 P. radula A. Lvs. palmate, rough, lobes narrow, pinnatifid, revolute at edge, with linear segments; umbels few-flowered; nectary nearly as long as the calyx.- Distinguished for its large rough leaves deeply divided into linear segments, and and with a mint-like fragrance. Fls. purple.
18 P. quercifolium A. Oak-leaved Geranium. Lvs. cordate, pinnatifid with rounded recesses, lobes obtusely crenate; branches and petioles hispid.- Lvs. rough, often spotted. Fls. purplish.
Ob*. The above are among the more distinguished and popular species of this vast and favorite genus. Innumerable varieties produced from seeds and propagated by cuttings are equally common and often of superior beauty. No genus seems to bo regarded with so universal favor for greenhouse plants as this. The species and their multitudes of hybrid creations, produced by modern ingenuity, are cultivated with assiduous attention by nearly every family which makes the least pretensions to taste throughout the civilized world.