Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wild Geranium





By now you've probably purchased greenhouse Geraniums for your gardens, planters, and hanging baskets. That's cool. So did I.

But I'm also growing Wild Geraniums in our wildflower garden; planted in 1999. Except for the Ostrich Fern and Sensitive Fern trying to dominate the space, the Wild Gs are thriving, with no toil or trouble for me.

This is a very common wildflower, and I'm sure you've seen it growing abundantly if you live within its range. I'll assume you like it, and to increase your appreciation, here's a brief Botanical background:


Flowers:

Perennial, 2-3 flowers per cluster, 1-1 1/2" wide, 5 sepals (above: see their outline under those backlit petals)



Colors: rose, purple-rose, lavender, bluish.
10 stamens (male)- in two circles, (outer stamens mature first), one pistil (female).

"Nectar Guides"-- the lines on the petals that direct insects to the petal bases-- show darker purple and translucent:


After insect pollination, the petals drop off:




Leaves: 4-5", palmately divided into deeply toothed lobes, long-stalked:



Height: 1 - 2'

Flowering: April - June

Fruit: Elongated, beaked capsule, splitting into five, upward-curving strips still united at the top.

Habitat: Rich, moist woods, thickets, meadows and along roadsides. Prefers edges with light shade.

Other: The common name "Crane's Bill", as well as the genus name, from the Greek geranos
("a crane"), refer to the beak-like capsule. These long, beak-like pistils eventually develop seeds and spring them loose, like a catapult.





Watch out! Another little bee just "zoomed" in here:





This last shot is a "poster" for all the artists out there:





Thank you for viewing. Please come again. Bring your friends.






References:

National Audubon Society Field Guide To WILDFLOWERS - Eastern Region

The Book of Forest and Thicket - Trees, Shrubs, and Wildflowers of Eastern North America

Michigan Wildflowers by Helen V. Smith - Cranbrook Institute of Science