Geraniaceae includes around 800 species in 7-10 genera World-wide. The most important genera are Geranium (Crane’s-bills – 430 species), the garden Geranium (Latin name = Pelargonium – 280 species – native to the Cape region of South Africa) and Erodium (Stork’s-bills – 80 species).
The Geraniaceae in brief:
- Annual or perennial Herbs or shrubs, alternate (occasionally opposite) compound, palmate (Geranium) or pinnate (Erodium) leaves with stipules.
- Actinomorphic (sometimes zygomorphic) flowers solitary or in cymes.
- 5 free sepals and 5 free petals and usually 10 stamens.
- Superior 3-5 celled ovary and a long beak bearing 5 free stigmas.
- Fruit a dry 5-seeded, long beaked – hence the common names Crane’s bill (Geranium) or Stork’s bill (Erodium) – schizocarp rolling or twisting to release seeds.
Examples of Geraniaceae:
Geranium molle (Dove’s-foot Crane’s-bill)
The featured image is the purple-red hues of Geranium sanguineum (Bloody Cranesbill) looking striking against the blue-grey of the limestone pavement at Ingleborough in West Yorkshire.