Carolina Cranesbill

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From a sprawling mat

Reaches an open flower

Ready to receive

Dorothy Rodwell

 

The Carolina Cranesbill, Geranium carolinianum, is an annual flowering plant that is common in almost every county in the State where it is found in disturbed sites, roadsides, and pastures.  The plant’s early branches and leaves form a sprawling circular mat. Later branches are erect reaching a height of about one foot. Branches are reddish and hairy. Leaves are arranged in pairs that are widely spaced  on the branches.

Cranesbill’s leaves are interesting.  A leaf has five widely spread lobes. In turn, each lobe has 3 to 5 smaller lobes. Something like your palm with the fingers spread apart.  Leaves are grayish-green and around 3 inches in length.

At the terminal end of each branch is a cluster of one to three tiny white or lavender  flowers each with five petals.  Ten white male stamens are located at the center of the petals. Somewhere in the stamen mix is a single female style waiting for a pollinator. Flowers are about ½ Inch in diameter.  Each flower can produce a capsule with five seeds.

There are two other species in the genus Geranium. Both are rare and found in just a few counties in the State, The specimen in the picture was found along a road in Citrus County.