This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Pelargonium Acetosum. Sorrel Crane's-Bill.
Calyx 5-partitus: lacinia suprema definente in tubulum capillarem, nectariferum, secus pedunculum decurrentem. Cor. 5-petala, irregularis. Filam. 10. in aequalia: quorum 3 (raro 5) castrata. Fructus, 5-coccus, rostratus: rostra spiralia, introrsum barbata. L'Herit. Geran.
PELARGONIUM acetosum umbellis paucifloris, foliis obovatis crenatis glabris carnosis, petalis linearibus. L'Herit. Monogr de Geran. n. 97.
GERANIUM acetosum calycibus monophyllis, foliis glabris obovatis carnosis crenatis, caule fruticoso laxo. Linn. Syst. Vegetab. ed. 14. Murr. p. 613. Sp. Pl. p. 947.
GERANIUM Africanum frutescens, folio crasso et glauco acetosae sapore. Comm. prael. 51. t. 1.
Mons. L'Heritier, the celebrated French Botanist, who in the number, elegance, and accuracy of his engravings, appears ambitious of excelling all his contemporaries, in a work now executing on the family of Geranium, has thought it necessary to divide that numerous genus into three, viz. Erodium, Pelargonium, and Geranium.
The Erodium includes those which Linnaeus (who noticing the great difference in their appearance, had made three divisions of them) describes with five fertile stamina, and calls Myrrhina; the Pelargonium those with seven fertile stamina, his Africana; the Geranium, those with ten fertile stamina, his Batrachia.
They are continued under the class Monadelphia, in which they now form three different orders, according to the number of their stamina, viz. Pentandria, Heptandria, and Decandria. If the principles of the Linnaean system had been strictly adhered to, they should perhaps have been separated into different classes; for though the Pelargonium is Monadelphous, the Geranium is not so; in consequence of this alteration, the Geranium peltatum and radula, figured in a former part of this work, must now be called Pelargonium peltatum, and radula, and the Geranium Reichardi be an Erodium.
The leaves of this plant have somewhat the taste of sorrel, whence its name, it flowers during most of the summer, and is readily propagated by cuttings. Miller mentions a variety of it with scarlet flowers.
It is a native of the Cape, and known to have been cultivated in Chelsea Garden, in the year 1724.