Geranium sibiricum (Siberian Cranesbill)
|Also known as:|
|Life cycle:||annual, short-lived perennial|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; disturbed soil, roadsides, waste areas, lawns|
|Bloom season:||August - September|
|Plant height:||8 to 24 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are about ¼ inch across with 5 oval petals, white to light pink with darker lines radiating from the base. Flowers are single (rarely 2) on 2 to 3-inch hairy stalks from the upper leaf axils of growing branches. New flowers develop continuously through the growing season. The 5 sepals are oval-elliptic with a conspicuous sharp awn at the tip and spreading hairs on the outer surface; including the awn, they are about as long as or slightly longer than the petals.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are mostly opposite and simple on a hairy stalk up to 2 inches long, deeply cleft into 3 to 5 palmate, lance-elliptic, sharply pointed lobes, 2 to 2½ inches across, with sparsely hairy surfaces and coarsely toothed edges.
At the base of a leaf stalk is a pair of long, narrowly triangular, leafy appendages (stipules). Stems are spreading to 3 feet across, ascending at the tips, densely hairy, and may be tinged red.
Fruit is an erect capsule-like structure ½ to 1 inch long with the persistent sepals around the base. In the center is a slender column divided into five sections, each attached at its base to an oval shaped carpel containing a single seed.
As the column drys and splits apart along its seams, the carpels are sprung upward, ejecting the seeds outward.
Siberian Cranesbill is one of several non-native geraniums found in the US but the only one so far recognized as established in Minnesota. It is far less common than the native Bicknell's Cranesbill (Geranium bicknellii), with which it most likely to be confused. G. sibiricum can be identified by its more densely hairy stem, broader, more sharply pointed leaf lobes, and by typically having only a single, long-stalked flower in each leaf axil. While it is noted in some references as attaining heights up to 3 feet, we're not sure if this means it demonstrates this habit in other regions with warmer and longer growing seasons or if this only refers to its breadth of sprawl. Of the few specimens we've observed in Minnesota, unless supported by surrounding vegetation, Siberian Cranesbill rarely ascends much beyond 6 to 10 inches on open soil. We suspect this is another under-reported weed in Minnesota. All of these images came from a plant found along a roadside in Goodhue County that had been mowed over (probably several times). We transplanted it into our own yard to better ensure we could get sufficient images, then it was destroyed. For all we know it has now been eradicated from Goodhue County. :-)
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- Siberian Cranesbill plant
- plant from the side
- flowers from the side
- hairy leaf underside
- Siberian Cranesbill hiding in the grass
Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Goodhue County and in a private garden in Ramsey County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?
on: 2014-09-08 11:38:58
I stumbled upon quite an extensive patch (5' x 7') of Siberian Geranium or Siberian Cranesbill on the northeast and unkempt side of a garage here in Brown County. For me, the most telling key were the three dark pink vertical lines on each of the five light pink petals. As for its reclining habit, several plants in this patch, though sprawling, stood a good 18" tall and were quite free-standing. On 9/3/14, Dr. Anita F. Cholewa of the Bell Museum of Natural History confirmed my identification and added my submitted specimen to the museum's collection. You are probably correct that this plant is under-reported.;-)
on: 2016-08-05 22:43:43
I found this in our semi-shady backyard, lawn and perennial borders, am trying to weed it out before it sets more seed.
on: 2018-09-05 10:28:00
Blooming in a boulevard garden near Macalester College neighborhood.
on: 2021-08-12 10:15:07
I have this plant in my boulevard lawn and it has thrived in the drought and taken over. Most neighbors do not have it, and I'm wondering why it chose my property. Large plants are fairly easy to remove when loosened a bit, but densely packed small plants are difficult indeed. The flowers are sweet, and at first I thought it was native and might make a nice ground cover. Wrong!
on: 2022-07-25 13:05:55
I have quite a large patch of this growing in a rock bed next to my house. I think it's Siberian vs Bicknell's because it has single blooms.
on: 2022-07-29 19:10:40
We have had it self seeding in our gardens for several years. We are trying to rid our yard of it, but it finds a way back every year. Very Invasive.
on: 2022-08-17 14:59:38
I believe I have lots of this in my lawn. I thought it was a native geranium until looking more closely on this site. I'm in Skyline, Blue Earth County. Is this invasive to native woodlands?
on: 2022-08-17 16:28:39
Joanne, this is a weedy species that may establish in disturbed soils such as lawns, parking lots, roadsides, and perhaps degraded woods, but I don't expect it to form dense patches or monocultures like an invasive species would.
on: 2022-08-21 15:01:41
I found a magnificent specimen of this in my flower bed today, growing alongside a phlox plant. It was 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide. I am sorry to see it's non-native. I pulled it out.