Kin to that wild red geranium of the African veld, sent to Holland to become the ancestor of all cultivated geraniums, the pale pink wild geranium of the Illinois woods comes into bloom when April is almost over and May is on the land. The wild geranium is unlike many spring flowers in that it produces a good sized plant before it blooms. Since it comes later than those earliest flowers which send up their Leaves and flower buds ready for immediate action, the wild geranium takes its time. The leaves come up as early as the earliest dutchman's breeches and spring beauties - small, beautifully formed, rose-colored Leaves bent down over a small curving stem. Slowly they expand until the leaves stand on foot-long stalks around the base of the plant. In the midst rise the flowering -talk-. There usually is a single whorl of leaves perhaps three to six deeply toothed and divided Leaves, veiny, hairy, dark green. From the stem where the leaves spring outward, the flowering -talk- bear a Loose cluster of Large, single flowers. Their resemblance to a single cultivated geranium flower is marked; the color is Lavender-pink, of varying degrees of intensity depending upon the amount of sun they receive.
Geranium maculatum L.
April - May Sunny woods.
The wild geranium has a remarkable arrangement to prevent self pollination. It has Los1 the power of self-fertilization, but instead ripens first the outer, then the inner row of anthers. As soon as the pollen has been removed from the anther- they are immediately shed to prevent any chance of self-pollination. Not until the stamens are sterile will the stigmas of the five-parted pistil become fertile to receive pollen from other geranium flowers.