(From a crane, because its pistil is long, like the bill of a crane). A bandage used from the days of Hippocrates, now called spica simplex. In botany, it is the name for batrachium, crow's foot, or crane's bill; its seed vessel consists of five capsules opening inwards, and containing each a single seed; the flowers are pentapetalous.
Geranium robertianum, Lin. Sp. Pl. 955, gratia dei, and herb Robert; hath reddish or purplish flowers on one pedicle; the leaves are divided down to the foot stalk into three segments, and these again are deeply cut. It is the only sort used in medicine. Its strong smell, salt, and slightly astringent taste, seem to point out some medicinal powers; and it has been employed to repel the milk in haemorrhages of the bladder and increased mucous discharges. Externally it has been applied to bubos and ulcers of the mammae, though disused in the present practice.
Geranium batrachoides, gratia dei Germanorum, and crow's foot crane's bill; geranium pratense Lin. Sp. Pl. 954. It hath two blue, but sometimes white, flowers on one pedicle; the leaves are large, wrinkled, and divided into five or seven segments, which again are deeply cut on their edges.
Geranium columbinum, pes columbinus Lin. Sp. Pl. 956, dove's foot, and dove's foot crane's bill; hath purple flowers, standing two on a pedicle; the leaves are shaped like those of mallows, and have long foot stalks.
Geranium moschatum, Lin. Sp. Pl. 951. Muscovy, and musked crane's bill, acus mocchata; hath a number of red flowers on one pedicle; the leaves are indented, oval shaped, set in pairs along a middle rib, which is terminated by an odd one.
Geranium sanguinarium, Lin. Sp. Pl. 958, haema-todes, and bloody crane's bill; hath solitary flowers, which on their first appearance are red, but soon change to a bluish colour; the leaves are roundish, but divided almost to the pedicle into five segments, which are often subdivided at the extremities into three.
All these plants are found wild in different parts of this kingdom; they flower in May, June, and July. They have an astringent taste; and this quality is extracted by water as well as by rectified spirit, and, on evaporating the filtered liquor, remains in the extract. See Radii Historia. Lewis's Materia Medica.