Cutleaf Cranesbill

Geranium dissectum L.

Synonyms - Geranium pilosum

Family: - Geraniaceae.


Geranium is from the Greek geranos for a crane because the fruit resembles a cranes head and bill.

Cutleaf Cranesbill


A prostrate or semi-erect, hairy, annual herb with palmately divided leaves and pink, 5 petalled flowers from September to January that form corkscrew seeds. The stems which branch from the base and along their length of up to 60 cm.



Two. The cotyledons are double kidney shaped, 4 to 6 mm long by 6 to 8 mm wide with a petiole 6 to 12 mm long. The tip and base are notched. A few very short hairs are present on the upper surface of the blade with longer hairs on the petiole. (Some varieties may be hairless). The veins on the cotyledon are very prominent. The seedling has a hypocotyl, but no epicotyl.

First leaves:

Leaves arise singly, the first leaves are round in outline, 8 to 15 mm in diameter and deeply lobed with a petiole 10 to 20 mm long. Numerous long hairs are present on the upper surface with rather shorter and less numerous hairs on the lower.


Opposite. May form a loose rosette. The leaves increase in size and petiole length and become palmate and more divided as the plant develops.

Stipules - Narrowly triangular, leafy, 3-6 mm long.

Petiole - About 80 mm long and shorter on upper leaves.

Blade - Semi circular or kidney shaped, often notched at the base. 10-60 mm long by 10-65 mm wide. Deeply, 5-7 lobed. Lobes egg shaped and divided into 3-5 pointed secondary lobes or with teeth. Short low lying hairs.

Stem leaves - Towards the top of the stem the leaves are smaller and the petiole shorter and the palmate leaves are often reduced to a series of lobes. Hairy on the upper and lower surface.


Up to 600 mm long, prostrate or upward bending to erect, solid, circular in cross section or maybe angular near the ends. They branch from the base and along their length. Course, soft low lying or spreading hairs. Sometimes roots at the nodes.

Flower head:

Axillary and terminal, on a 10-50 mm long, slender, stalks(peduncles), hairy with spreading bent back hairs. Usually 2 flowers on 15-40 mm hairy stalks(pedicels).


The flowers are about 7 mm in diameter.

Bracts - Narrowly triangular up to 4mm long.

Ovary - Hairy. Style with 5 short stigmas or branches.

Sepals - Elliptic to egg shaped. 4-6 x 2-2.5mm. Tip pointed. Hairy edges.

Petals - 5, pink to purple with pale bases or white, often with yellowish veins, 5-12 mm long, overlapping. Tip smooth or with a broad shallow notch. Longer than sepals. Nectar gland between each petal. .

Stamens - Filaments 4mm long. All fertile.

Anthers - Yellow.


5, oval to egg shaped, fruitlets surrounding a central column, with 9-15 mm tapering beak. Hairy with simple and glandular hairs. Awn with stiff, simple and glandular hairs on the outside and hairless on the inside, curls upwards from the base, carrying the fruit to form a corkscrew at maturity. Fruitlets (carpels) smooth.


Globular to kidney shaped. Wrinkled with rectangular pits that may be in rows on the back.



Key Characters:

Hairy sepals and fruit.


Life cycle:

Annual. Germination occurs in mainly in autumn with some in spring.



By seed.

Flowering times:

September to January in SA.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:



Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Origin and History:




Cut-leaf Cranesbill is found throughout Tasmania.


Damp and shady places.



Clay and sandy loam soils. Rocky hillsides. Sandy skeletal soils.

Plant Associations:






It is principally a weed of waste areas and gardens, but does occur to some extent in arable crops.

It is of little economic importance in Tasmania.


Not recorded as toxic.




Management and Control:


Eradication strategies:

Herbicide resistance:

Biological Control:

Related plants:

Common Cranesbill (G. retrorsum)

Dove's-foot Cranesbill (G. molle)

Native Geranium (G. solanderi).

Plants of similar appearance:

Dove's-foot Cranesbill (G. molle) is very similar.

Cut-leaf can be distinguished from Dove's-foot Cranesbill by the deeper division of the lobes of the leaves. In Cut-leaf the lobes are usually divided to more than three-quarters of the distance to the base while in Dove's foot the division does not usually extend beyond half the depth to the base. In Cut-leaf the lobes of the second leaf are sub-divided, while in Dove's-foot they are not, and in this species the upper leaves do not lose their overall circular outline. The apical notch on the petals of Dove's-foot Cranesbill is deeper and it has hairless fruits.


Auld, B.A. and Medd R.W. (1992). Weeds. An illustrated botanical guide to the weeds of Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P175.

Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Cousens, R.D., Dodd, J. and Lloyd, S.G. (1997). Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. (Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia). P166.

Hyde-Wyatt, B.H. and Morris, D.I. (1975). Tasmanian weed handbook. (Tasmanian Department of Agriculture, Hobart, Tasmania). P69.

Lamp, C. and Collet, F. (1990). A Field Guide to Weeds in Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne).

Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #582.1.

Wilding, J.L. et al. (1987). Crop weeds. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P119. Diagrams. Photos.


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