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Geraniaceae: Geranium Family Plant Identification Characteristics.

Geraniaceae
Plants of the Geranium Family

Geranium himalayense.

      If you have a geranium at home, stop and look at it. The regular, bisexual flowers have 5 separate sepals and 5 separate petals with 5, 10 or 15 stamens. Note however, that some varieties have been bred to have multiple layers of petals. The ovary is positioned superior. It consists of 5 united carpels with the partition walls present, forming an equal number of chambers, with 1 or 2 ovules per chamber. The styles of the pistil are fused together, making a distinctive 5-parted, star-like stigma at the end. After pollination, the pistil continues to grow, looking like a needle emerging from the center of the blossom. It matures as a schizocarp, a dry fruit that splits apart into individual carpels (mericarps) when dry. The styles of the pistil remain attached to the individual carpels and they peel away together.

      In a geranium the schizocarp starts at the bottom and "peels" open to release its seeds. Indoor geraniums are seldom pollinated, so they do not produce seeds. It would be worth setting one outside so the bees can pollinate it, just so you can see the schizocarps form and curl.

      Worldwide, there are 11 genera and 780 species. Only Erodium and Geranium are native to North America. Domestic geraniums are from the genera Monsonia and Pelargonium. Members of this family contain significant quantities of tannic, ellagic, and gallic acids, making them quite astringent. The roots are especially acidic.

Key Words: Flower parts in fives with a needle-like pistil and a five-parted stigma.

Please e-mail Thomas J. Elpel to report mistakes or to inquire about purchasing high resolution photos of these plants.


 Geranium viscosissimum. Sticky Geranium.

Geranium viscosissimum. Sticky Geranium.

 Geranium viscosissimum. Sticky Geranium.

Geranium viscosissimum. Sticky Geranium.

Geranium richardsonii. White Geranium.

Geranium richardsonii. White Geranium.

Foraging the Mountain West
Foraging the Mountain West
Erodium cicutarium. Stork's Bill.

Erodium cicutarium. Stork's Bill.

Erodium cicutarium. Stork's Bill.

Erodium cicutarium. Stork's Bill. An introduced weed common in deserts and gardens.

Foraging the Mountain West
Foraging the Mountain West
Pelargonium hybrid. Poison Ivy.

Pelargonium. This hybrid geranium has a slightly irregular, star-like flower.

There are more
Geranium Family pictures
at PlantSystematics.org.


Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
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Botany in a Day
Foraging the Mountain West
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Foraging the Mountain West

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Books
authored by
Thomas J. Elpel
Roadmap to Reality: Consciousness, Worldviews, andthe Blossoming of Human Spirit
Roadmap
to Reality
Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
Living
Homes
Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills.
Participating
in Nature
Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.
Foraging the
Mountain West
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Botany
in a Day
Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids
Shanleya's
Quest

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