Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

 
Blue flowers at the top of green plants.

NPS/Gordon Dietzman

Introduction

This beautiful wildflower is a common species found throughout the park, wherever suitable conditions are found. Growing 1-2.5 feet tall, the wild geranium prefers dry to moist forest edges and can even be found in meadows. It sports a lovely, lavender flower each about an inch in diameter, in clusters of 1-10 in late spring and early summer. Its attractive, deep green leaves contain 5-7 lobes and are deeply veined. They often grow in large clumps.

As the seedhead matures, the pistil elongates and five carpels form, each of which contains a seed. The carpels are under tension and when they release the seeds are forcibly pitched outward from the plant dispersing over some distance.

The plant becomes dormant in summer and dies back to the ground.

Blooms: May and June

Fascinating Facts

  • The word geranium is derived from the Latin “geranos” meaning “crane” and, indeed, the long narrow seed capsule resembles the bill of a crane. Another common name for wild geranium is “cranesbill.”
  • Wild geraniums are becoming popular shade garden flowers.

Find It

Crosby Farm Regional Park
Fort Snelling State Park
North Mississippi Regional Park

Want to Help Us Better Understand the Park?

See our iNaturalist project, "The Life of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area" and contribute to it by downloading the iNaturalist app and uploading your sightings of this species, and others, to the project. You can also upload your sightings from your computer.

 

Last updated: March 7, 2018

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Saint Paul, MN 55101

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