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Meadow Cranes­bill

Geranium pratense

  • Name also: Meadow Crane’s-bill, Meadow Geranium
  • Family: Geranium Family – Geraniaceae
  • Growing form: Perennial herb. Rootstock strong, horizontal or oblique, tuber-like.
  • Height: 30–70 cm (12–28 in.). With many stems, stem blunt-edged, densely with spreading hairs.
  • Flower: Regular (actinomorphic), 30–40 mm (1.2–1.6 in.) broad. Petals 5, purplish or quite often white, round-tipped. Sepals 5, hairy, sharp-pointed, clearly shorter than petals. Stamens 10. Pistil of 5 used carpels. Flowers usually close to each other, in pairs, axillary terminating stems. Flower-stalks partly nodding.
  • Leaves: In basal rosette and on stem opposite. Basal leaves long-stalked, stem leaves short-stalked–stalkless, stipulate. Blade quite round, with palmate venation, deeply 7–9-lobed; lobes tapered, sharp-tipped, large-toothed.
  • Fruit: 5-parted schizocarp, tip beak-like, coiling up when ripe. Mericarps hairy.
  • Habitat: Commons, yards, gardens, parks, roadsides, forest margins, boat harbours. An ornamental, usually wild.
  • Flowering time: July–August.

Unlike many cranesbills, meadow cranesbill’s flowers are deep violet (or white) rather than light purple. Large leaves and radial white or purple veins only add to the attractiveness of the flowers. The flowering time is often very abundant, and in autumn the plant turns a lovely shade of red to boot. Meadow cranesbill has long been a popular ornamental which has spread to the wild in many places in southern and eastern Finland as far as Kuusamo. In northern Finland it also arrived with German soldiers’ provisions during WWII. It can be most easily differentiated from other ornamental cranesbills by the way that its leaves are narrowly lobed almost down to their base, making them look quite ragged. Of the other Finnish species, meadow cranesbill is probably most like wood cranesbill (G. sylvaticum), although its stem is without edges, its leaves are bluntly lobed, its flower-stalks are erect and its flowers are clearly smaller.

Cranesbills’ fruit is usually schizocarp comprised of five carpellary leaves. Like storksbill, the middle of the stalk is attached to five long-tapered lobes. On certain species the lobes curl up as they dry and then at the slightest disturbance they spring open, sending the seeds flying out. On other species they stay closed and spread with e.g. animals. Meadow cranesbill is an example of the latter, whose spread has clearly been helped by people.

Purple Cranesbill & Lilac Cranesbill & Dusky Cranesbill

G. x magnificum & Geranium himalayense & Geranium phaeum

Names also Showy Cranesbill; Himalayan Cranesbill; Mourning Widow, Black Widow.
NOT TRANSLATED YET. Kyläkurjenpolvea muistuttavia, sini-, sinivioletti- tai ruskeanviolettikukkaisia, suomalaisissa puutahoissa ja niiden liepeillä viihtyviä kurjenpolvilajeja ovat kyläkurjenpolven lisäksi ainakin tarha-, tumma- ja idänkurjenpolvi. Niistä suurimmat kukat on idän- ja tarhakurjenpolvella (4–5 cm) ja tummimmat tietysti tummakurjenpolvella (josta on myös vaaleampikukkaisia lajikkeita). Kaikki edellä mainitut ovat jossain päin planeettaamme ‘aitoja’ kurjenpolvilajeja tai risteymiä, joista näyttäviksi koristekasveiksi on jalostettu erilaisia versioita (tarhakurjenpolvi on turkin- ja kaukasiankurjenpolven risteymä).

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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