Geranium maculatum (Wild Geranium)
|Also known as:||Spotted Geranium, Spotted Cranesbill, Wild Cranesbill Alumroot|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; woods, woodland edges|
|Bloom season:||May - June|
|Plant height:||1 to 2 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Small clusters of a few flowers each branching off the top of the plant. Flowers are 1 to 1½ inches across, 5 rounded pink to lavender (rarely white) petals and 10 stamens with yellow tips that turn brown with age. The petals are streaked with darker lines along the length, and often fade to white at the base. The 5 green sepals behind the flower are about half as long as the petals, and hairy.
Leaves and stem:
Basal leaves are long stalked, 3 to 6 inches across and deeply divided into 3 to 7 lobes, which may be further divided with coarse, mostly rounded teeth. A pair of smaller, short-stalked leaves sits at the base of a flower cluster. Leaves and stems are both hairy.
Fruit is an erect capsule-like structure to 1½ inches 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.
Wild Geranium makes a wonderful shade garden plant. It is easily distinguished from the other 3 Geranium species in Minnesota by its comparatively large flowers, an inch or more in diameter, where the others are under ½ inch. When not flowering, Wild Geranium leaves may be mistaken for Canada Anemone (Anemone canadensis) or possibly one of the Black Snakeroots (Sanicula spp.). The Black Snakeroots have alternate, palmately compound stem leaves where Wild Geranium stem leaves are opposite and palmately lobed. Canada Anemone leaves are more sharply toothed/pointed, with a single whorl of 3 stalkless, mostly 3-lobed leaves on the upper stem at the base of the flower stalk, as well as pair of stalkless leaves at the base of secondary flower stalks.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Chisago and Ramsey counties. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Ramsey County.
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