Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. This week we’re focusing on a member of the Geraniaceae (Geranium) family.
Geranium pulchrum (no common names), is a hardy shrublet that grows to around 1.2m in moist areas (marshland, stream-banks, at the bases of cliffs and near seeplines), as with many geranium spp. This geranium grows at an altitudinal range of 1500-2285 m A.S.L.
G. pulchrum tends to form dense stands in higher altitudes and is endemic to the EMR. The Latin “pulchrum” means “beautiful”, in clear reference to the heart-shaped florets. At first glance it may resemble several local geranium spp., but when in doubt take a glance at the leaves and compare to those of similar spp.
G. pulchrum has stems that are basally woody & silky textured and flexible near the apex. The leaves are fairly large for a geranium and measure 80-120 mm in diameter and have 5-7 deep notched lobes. The leaves are hairy above and appear silvery and silky below (the hairs trap moisture and act as an anti-desiccation mechanism), with stalks longer than the leaves. The inflorescence are moderately sized and singly/occurring per stalk. The 5-heart-lobed flowers are really a small-marvel and grade from a light-deep pink with deeper pink/purple veins leading to the white corona. The flowers measure 20-35 mm in diameter and flower stalks measure approx. 60 mm, appearing silvery. Flowering occurs from Dec-March.
This herbaceous plant and the art of photography go together well. Be prepared to take your camera into moist areas and make sure of your footing where slipping is likely to occur.
As far as geraniums go, this one is definitely worthy of the garden and makes an attractive ornamental or hedge-plant.
The SANBI conservation status for G. pulchrum is listed as Least Concern.
Article and photography by Damien Coulson
Head ranger: Clarens Village Nature Reserve
Click here for more articles on the plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve