Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a plant from the Geraniaceae family that has just recently come into full bloom.
Geranium robustum (known as Cranesbill in English), is a medium sized shrub of up to 1 m tall. The Greek word Geranos is translated as “crane” in English, referring to the shape of the seed, which resembles a crane`s bill. This plant grows on moist shrubby mountain slopes and along stream at 1600-2590 m A.S.L., and grows from the Eastern Cape through to Mpumalanga.
The leaves of G. robustum are around 50 mm in diameter and usually 5 lobed right down to the base. Each lobe is sub devided several times with venation of a peculiar appearance on the upper basal surface. The leaves have a silky texture and a silvery hairy upper surface whilst they are yet more silvery below. The leave stalks can be up to 100 mm long. The flowers’ elegance lies contrary-wise in their simlicity as they consist of 5 light purple petals with purple venation which draws focus to the off-white centre colouration. Flowers are approximately 25 mm in diam. Flowering occurs from November – March.
G. robustum makes a lovely natural looking cover and the trailing stems look very effective growing through shrubs, large perennials and over or even between garden fencing. Geraniums generally take some shade, particularly in the afternoon and are one of the most sun tolerant, only needing protection in the hottest of summers. G. robustum is one of the few Geraniums that can be propagated by cutting and rooting a terminal or lateral shoot from the parent plant in autumn. May spread relatively easily if not kept in check.
Forms a beautiful matt-like ground cover and could therefore be used with the duel-function of stabilisation of eroding stream banks as well as increasing the aesthetic appeal of mentioned banks.
Although no definitive status could be sourced, this plant is capable of growing in harsh conditions amongst other shrubs, and is therefore likely to be of least concern.