Native Geranium

Geranium solanderi Carolin

Synonyms - Geranium pilosum

Family: Geraniaceae.

Names:

Geranium is from the Greek geranos for a crane because the fruit resembles a cranes head and bill.
Solanderi celebrates the Swedish naturalist, Daniel Solander (1733 -1782) who was a an apostle of Carl Linnaeus.
Native Geranium refers to its Australian native plant status and membership of the Geranium genus.

Other Names:

Austral Cranesbill
Australian Cranesbill
Cut-leaf Cranesbill
Hairy Geranium

Summary:

A hairy, divided leaf perennial herb up to 500 mm high with pink flowers and hairy, corkscrew fruits.

Description:

Cotyledons:

Two.

Leaves:

Opposite. Leafy.
Stipules - Narrowly lance shaped to triangular, leafy, 3-6 mm long. Short low lying hairs.
Petiole - Up to 50 mm long. Hairy.
Blade - Semi circular or kidney shaped in outline, often notched at the base. 10-40 long x 10-65 mm wide, deeply, 5-7 lobes arranged like fingers on a hand. Lobes are egg shaped and divided into 3-5 pointed secondary lobes or with teeth on the upper leaves. Short low lying hairs.

Stems:

Up to 500 mm long. Angular at least in the upper part. Low lying or upward bending to erect. Course, soft to bristly, spreading or sometimes curved hairs. Occasionally has small glandular hairs also. Sometimes roots at the nodes.

Flower head:

Axillary on 10-50 mm long slender, stalks (peduncles), hairy with spreading bent back hairs. Usually 2 flowered.

Flowers:

On 15-50 mm, stiffly hairy stalks (pedicels).
Bracts - Narrowly triangular up to 4 mm long.
Ovary - Hairy. Style with 5 short stigmas or branches.
Sepals - Elliptic to egg shaped. 4-6 mm long x 2-2.5 mm wide. Tip pointed. Long hairs plus tiny glandular ones on the surface. Tiny hairs on the edges.
Petals - 5, pink with pale bases or white, often with yellowish veins, 5-12 mm long, egg shaped, overlapping. Tip smooth or with a broad shallow notch. Longer than sepals. Nectar gland between each petal.
Stamens - Filaments 4 mm long. All fertile.
Anthers - Yellow.

Fruit:

5 fruitlets surrounding a central column, oval to egg shaped, hairy with simple and glandular hairs, and a 9-15 mm tapering beak or awn. 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.

Seeds:

Globular, 3-6 mm diameter. Wrinkled with rectangular pits that may be in rows on the back. Attached to a corkscrew awn.

Roots:

Thickened.

Key Characters:

Lobed leaves.
Pink flowers with 5 shallowly notched petals.
Yellow anthers.
Hairy corkscrew like fruits.

Biology:

Life cycle:

Perennial.

Physiology:

Reproduction:

By seed.

Flowering times:

Spring to early summer in western NSW.
October in Perth.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:

Hybrids:

G. solanderi var. solanderi is recognised by Burbidge (1970).

Allelopathy:

Ecology, Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Origin and History:

Australia and New Zealand.

Distribution:

ACT, NSW, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA.

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Habitats:

Damp and shady places.

Climate:

Temperate.

Soil:

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

Plant Associations:

Woodlands. Sclerophyll forest.

Significance:

Beneficial:

Native fodder.

Detrimental:

Weed of roadsides and pastures.

Toxicity:

Not recorded as toxic.

Legislation:

The Wildlife Conservation Act prohibits removal of native plants from the wild in their native range on government land.

Management and Control:

Thresholds:

Eradication strategies:

Herbicide resistance:

Biological Control:

Related plants:

Common Cranesbill (G. retrorsum).
Cutleaf Cranesbill (G. dissectum)
Dove's-foot Cranesbill (G. molle)

Plants of similar appearance:

Dove's foot Cranesbill (G. molle) is very similar but has hairless fruits.

References:

Auld, B.A. and Medd R.W. (1992). Weeds. An illustrated botanical guide to the weeds of Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P175-176. Photo.

Burbidge, N.T. and Gray, M. (1970). Flora of the Australian Capital Territory. (Australian National University Press, Canberra). P233, 235. Diagram.

Cunningham, G.M., Mulham, W.E., Milthorpe, P.L. and Leigh, J.H. (1992). Plants of Western New South Wales. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P433. Photo.

Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #582.4.

Marchant, N.G., Wheeler, J.R., Rye, B.L., Bennett, E.M., Lander, N.S. and Macfarlane, T.D. (1987). Flora of the Perth Region. (Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia). P499.

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.