Home   Dicots   Dr M’s Top Twenty Flowering Plant Families: Geraniaceae

Dr M’s Top Twenty Flowering Plant Families: Geraniaceae

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.


Comments are closed.