[The name from the Greek word for crane, as the lung beaked fruit has some resemblance to the bill of that bird,]
Most of the plants, popularly called Geraniums, belong to the genus Pelargonium, and 'Will be found under that head. Geranium proper, has regular flowers with ten stamens, all with perfect anthers, while the flower of Pelargonium is somewhat irregular by haying a spur at the base of the calyx, and though it has ten stamens, a portion of them, usually three, have imperfect anthers. The Geraniums are all herbaceous, while Pelargoniums are for the most part shrubby.
This is a handsome indigenous plant, growing about fences and the edges of woods, preferring a soil that is somewhat moist. Stems erect, hairy, dividing by forks, or more numerous branches; one to two feet high. Leaves large, spreading, hairy, divided in a palmate manner into five or seven lobes, which are variously cut and toothed at their extremities; the lower ones petioled, the upper ones nearly sessile. As the leaves grow old, they are usually marked with pale spots about the sinuses; hence the specific name maculatum - spotted. Petals rounded, purple; May, June.
A native of Britain. It is said that "its flower partakes of a delicacy by which it greatly surpasses in effect its more common blue congener. Its flowers vary much in the portion of color they display, some being nearly all blue, whilst others are produced completely white." One and one-half foot high; May to July.
G. Lancastrianse - A native of Lancastershire, England. This has purple flowers; dwarf-creeping habit; an elegant species; June to September. Probably only a variety of G. sanguineum.
This species is a native of Europe, and has been cultivated since 1789. A plant of easy culture, eighteen inches high, with a profusion of pink flowers, in June and July. It is highly ornamental. It may be appropriately planted among low shrubs, or strong herbaceous plants; it will succeed in rather shady places, which renders it oftentimes a desirable plant.
All these species are hardy perennials, and deserve a place in large collections, as do a number of other species not described.
[Named from a Spanish botanist, Gilie or Gileo.]
This genus has been much divided up, and the synonyms are numerous; the plants called by various botanists and florists: Ipomopsis, Cantua, Femzia, Leptosi-phon, and Leptodactylon, all belong under Gilia.
First introduced into England about the year 1720, from seeds collected by Catesby, in the upper districts of Georgia and Carolina; but as the seeds are seldom perfected in England, it was at one time lost from the English gardens; we do not think that its beauty will allow it to share this fate again, while the attention to horticulture remains in its present state.
It is a biennial, of most elegant appearance, but is very subject to damp off, and difficult to keep through the winter. Much protection is sure to kill the plants. It has generally been considered a tender plant, and treated as such. At one time having many fine plants, I distributed them in various exposures, in hopes to save some. About half of the whole number were in fine condition in the spring.
The driest soil, in the shade of a fence, seems to be the most favorable situation for them. If the ground is inclining to moisture, there is but little chance for them. So fine a plant as this Gilia well deserves a place in the garden. I should recommend, for experiment, to sow the seed in August, as, perhaps, the small plants would endure the winter better than large ones.
The plant grows from four to five feet high. The foliage is superb, similar to that of the Cypress Vine, with numerous scarlet-spotted flowers, that continue in bloom a number of months.
The plants may be potted and kept in the house, or green-house, through the winter, and then planted out in the open border.
This pretty annual, originally from California, has found its way into most of our gardens. Scarcely anything can be prettier than this plant, when thickly filling, a bed a few feet in length, and breadth. It is quite hardy, and grows about one foot high, with an erect stem and foliage much resembling the Well-known G. capitata; but the flowers are much longer, and instead of being collected into globose heads, are widely spread at the head of long peduncles, which, being numerous, form a large and rather dense panicle, and thus show off to great advantage. The flowers have a yellow eye, surrounded by a purple ring, bordered by pale-blue or white. "From its humble stature and neat growth, it is peculiarly suited for culture in masses, a style of planting showy flowers, which produces a striking effect, when it can be pursued on a tolerably extensive scale."
A hardy annual from California. The flowers are produced upon slender, branching stems, which rise about two feet high; each flower is about a quarter of an inch across, of a pale rose color, slightly streaked with red on the outside, and of a fine violet inside. The flowers do not produce much show where a single plant is grown, but it should be grown in masses like the last described species.
A pretty, hardy annual, with blue, and a variety with white, flowers in clustered heads. Prom June to August, two feet high.
This is a very pretty, hardy annual, of humble growth, six or eight inches high; varying in the color of its flowers, from white to pale-pink, red, or purple. It is a valuable little plant for flowering early in the summer, from autumn-sown seeds. The leaves of this plant are deeply divided into segments, always consisting of an even number, as four, six, eight, etc.
In addition to these there are G. achillioefolia, gera-nicefolia, multica/ulis, nivalis, and others, all pretty annuals.