Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Geranium or Pelargonium?

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - unframed

Geraniums originated from South Africa, as well as Reunion, Madagascar, Egypt and Morocco and were introduced to European countries such as Italy, Spain and France in the 17th century.

Actually, the plants that gardeners have grown under the geranium name for several hundred years is not a geranium, but a pelargonium. Both plants, as well as a few others, are all members of the geraniaceae family. The problem arose when the plants were first brought from their native home of South Africa into Europe. All the early imports were labeled “geraniums” and continued under that blanket name for many years. When some observant botanists finally started a closer examination of these lovely new plants, they discovered many differences and then decided that the imports were not all the same plant type, but there were differences so were then moved into different named classifications.

One group of plants was given the original name of geraniums. A second group was classified as pelargoniums, then there were erodiums and sarcocaulons/monsonias. The plant we label “geranium” was put into the pelargonium category, however, it had become a well loved plant of gardeners in Europe under the old “geranium” label so although the botanists told them that the lovely pot or bedding plant they grew in such numbers was a pelargonium, they persisted in using the old name.

I’m now more confused than ever!

ITEM ID : GeraniumOrPelargonium
PRICE : R350.00 postage included

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