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Dove's Foot Cranesbill

Geranium molle

  • Name also: Dove’s-foot Crane’s-bill, Dovesfoot Cranesbill, Dove’s Foot Geranium, Dovefoot Geranium, Awnless Geranium
  • Family: Geranium Family – Geraniaceae
  • Growing form: Annual or overwintering herb. Overwintering individuals have a strong tap root.
  • Height: 5–25 cm (2–10 in.). Multiple stems, erect to ascending, branching, soft villous-pubescent, usually reddish.
  • Flower: Regular, 5–8 mm broad. Petals 5, pink, deeply notched at the apex. Sepals 5, narrowly membrane-edged, villous, shorter than petals. Stamens 10, all having anther. Congenitally fused, single style pistil with 5 stigmas. Flowers usually in axillary pairs, or terminal on shoots.
  • Leaves: Form base rosette, on the shoot singly or opposite. Rosette leaves long-stalked, stem leaves short-stalked with stipules. Leaf blade orbicular, palmately veined, 5–7-lobed up to half of leaf blade, leaf-lobes broad, often three-toothed.
  • Fruit: Five-parted schizocarp, beak-like tip, beak segments coil at dehiscence. Mericarps (carpels) wrinkled, hairless.
  • Habitat: Dry, rocky fields, cobbly soils, ruins, banks, waste places, yards.
  • Flowering time: June–September.

In Finland the distribution of dove’s foot cranesbill is restricted to the Åland Islands and the Turku Archipelago. In continental Finland the species is found only as a sporadic weed. It grows usually along roadsides, in pastureland, fields and other cultivated sites. The distribution has probably followed agriculture and other human activity already in former times. Currently the species is spreading efficiently through human activity, mostly as a contaminant mixed with clover seeds, and has traveled from its center of origin in Western Europe, the Mediterranean and the Near East to most of Europe, North and South America, Australia, New Zealand and the Far East. The yearly changes in population dynamics for this annual species is high. At times, dove’s foot cranesbill may be abundant, or then totally absent.

Dove’s foot cranesbill often forms mixed stands with its close relative, small-flowered cranesbill (G. pusillum). The stems and petioles of the latter have short hairs, while dove’s foot cranesbill has both long and short hairs. Small-flowered cranesbill’s petals are rather similar in length to its sepals, while those of dove’s foot cranesbill are somewhat longer. Furthermore, small-flowered cranesbill’s mericarps are smooth and the hairs adpressed, while the mericarps of dove’s foot cranesbill are wrinkled and hairless.

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

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