• Types of geraniums

    Botanical portrait of geranium

    Both wild geraniums and domesticated pelargonium belong to the same family - geranium( Geraniaceae).The family includes 11 genera and about 800 species. They are distributed mainly in the regions of the globe with a temperate climate. Geraniums grow usually by bushes, forests, meadows, ravines.

    Many species grow on subalpine meadows in the mountains of Europe and the Caucasus, as well as in some areas of North-East Africa - for example, pelargonium originates from the Cape province. Geraniums prefer bright sun, moderate watering, drained light fertile soil. Some species of geraniums are shade-tolerant and love moist soil-geranium blood-red and geranium meadow that occur in most of Russia, except the Far North and the Far East.

    Most geraniums are herbaceous plants, among them there are annual and perennial species. Annual species have a thin root root, which can easily be pulled out of the ground. At the same time, many forest, meadow and steppe species have a well developed rhizome with subordinate roots. Some perennial species living in steppes and deserts are provided with a tuberous root - it stores moisture and nutrients and helps to survive in harsh conditions.

    Above-ground stems usually erect. Only in some species stems are weak, recumbent, can be woven into surrounding bushes. Among the geraniums themselves, there are sometimes semi-shrubs and rarely shrubs. For example, representatives of the genus sarcocaulon( Sarcocaulon), living in the deserts of southwestern Africa, have thick fleshy stems with resinous bark - it prevents strong evaporation of moisture. Such ability( to be stored up by moisture with the help of stems and leaves) is characteristic for all succulents.

    The dimensions of plants vary greatly. For example, from herbaceous Geranium Gerbera - the smallest, 30 cm high, although the most popular among the florists. A geranium flat-flecked - the highest, up to 70 cm, with large red-violet drooping flowers. Shrubs can reach 3-4 meters in height. Such "giant" geraniums are found on the island of Socotra( Dirachma socotrana) and in the mountainous regions of the Hawaiian Islands.

    Leaves of geraniums have stipules and are arranged alternately or opposite. Often the leaves are long-stemmed petioles, and the stem leaves are almost sessile. The plate of the leaf is palmate-lobed, palmate or pinnatiform. The color of the leaves varies from light green to red. Sometimes, with the onset of a dry season after the fall of the plate leaves, petioles of the leaves turn into spines 3-5 cm long, protecting the plant from eating animals. This is typical for pelargonium prickly( Pelargonium spinosum) and sarcocaulons.

    One of the characteristic features of geranium - their leaves and stems are covered with simple and glandular hairs. They also give off essential oil that gives a characteristic aroma to many representatives of the family. The plant emits pairs of essential oil to protect itself from overheating or hypothermia.

    Flowers in geranium are bisexual, more often 5-membered. Coloring flowers - from gently pink to dark purple. The upper inflorescence of plants as a result of asymmetric development of their parts turns into a curl, like in geraniums, or in umbrellas, as in pelargonium. The calyx consists mostly of free, less often fused to half a sepals. Stamens more often 10, located in two circles so that the outer stamens are against petals, and internal - against sepals. Cross-pollination is carried out by insects: bees, bumblebees, butterflies and flies. After pollination, the flower's column grows into a long "beak".

    Fruit is a five-leaved box. Each seed has a spirally twisted strand. It then bends, then unbends, like a spring - depending on the dryness or humidity of air and soil. Of the ripe fruit, the seeds are thrown out with great force and thanks to their "spring" they can move until they come across some obstacle. Then the seed is screwed into the ground and gives a continuation of its appearance.

    It is worthwhile to give a separate portrait of those representatives of the family that are most popular as healers.

    Geranium meadow, Crane meadow( Geranium pratense L.)

    Perennial plant with an erect, branchy stem in height from 40 to 100 cm. It occurs in our European part of Russia and in Siberia. It grows in meadows, forest fringes, in fields, river valleys, deciduous and coniferous forests, in damp forest glades, as well as near human habitation, along roads and fences.

    Leaves opposite, palmate-separated, pubescent, as well as stalk, with hairs with glands. The top of the stem is sticky, as if covered with glue. So the plant protects pollen from eating small insects. The fruit, like the other geraniums, is a box resembling a beak.

    Blossoms from June to September. The flowers are large, regular, with blue or bluish-violet color petals.

    The plant is appreciated for its good honey and healing properties. As a medicinal raw material, the entire aerial part of the plant( flowers, stem, leaves) is collected, and sometimes rhizome.

    Geranium forest

    At first glance, is very similar to its closest relative Geranium forest( Geranium silvaticum L.).But the flowers of geranium forest purple or violet and pedicels erect, and not drooping, like meadow. They keep on the plant from May to September. The height of the stem is from 30 to 60 cm. It is abundant in the middle belt of Russia, the Urals and Siberia. Herb is also collected for medicinal purposes.

    Geranium marsh( Geraniumpalustre L.)

    Geranium marsh( Geraniumpalustre L.) occurs on wet meadows, in lowlands, marshes throughout the forest zone of our country. Its stems wrap around the tall grassy brethren and even creep onto the branches of the stunted birches and pines. In the absence of support, the stem has to be spread along the ground. The length of the stem is from 30 to 90 cm. The stems of the Eurasian Crested Marsh are divided into internodes, that is - in several places they were intercepted by thick swellings - nodes. On a long stem, there are so many that it is noted in yet another popular name - "stokolenets."Leaves are long-petioled, have the appearance of spreading branches, which, interwoven between the bushes, help the plant to keep in an upright position. Flowers single, large, purple or purple-red;flowering lasts from June to September. In folk medicine grass geranium marsh has a fairly wide application.

    Geranium blood-red( Geranium sanguineum L.)

    Geranium blood-red( Geranium sanguineum L.) - a perennial herbaceous plant. It occurs in the European part of Russia, in the Volga region, in the Caucasus. It grows in light forests, among shrubs, on forest edges, lawns, dry southern slopes. In the mountains can meet at an altitude of up to 1700 m above sea level. Stem erect, up to 70 cm high, at the base blood-red. Rhizome is horizontal, knobby. The leaves are rounded, at the base of the stem are located on long petioles, on the very stem are sessile. Flowers single, red, on long pedicels. Blooms in May-June. As a medicinal raw material, this geranium collects flowers, leaves and rhizomes.

    Geranium Dalmatian

    The Dalmatian Geranium forms a low( 10-15 cm) creeping layer of leathery cut leaves, which since early July have been adorned with pink flowers large( up to 2.5 cm in diameter) from the beginning of July. There is a variety with white flowers. In autumn the leaves turn red. The soils are undemanding, but do not tolerate their overmoistening. He prefers sunny places, but grows in partial shade. Propagated by seeds and division of a bush.
    There are many national recipes for treatment and with the help of room geraniums. Among the cultivated species the most common are pelargonium zonal, or bordered( Pelargonium zonale), it is easily recognized by rounded leaves with a brownish or white border at the margin, as well as Pelargonium roseum, and Pelargonium odoratissimum pelargonium. The latter is recognized by small pinkish flowers and very fragrant leaves. The leaves are quite different from the leaves of other room geraniums - they are not whole, but deeply cut.

    Specially cultivated in Central and Northern Europe for the production of medicinal and perfume raw materials, essential oil of Geranium large-crown( Geranium macrorrhizum L.).This perennial herb in the wild grows on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. In the Balkans it is found on stony slopes in high-mountain areas, and in the Carpathians and Crimea it has settled as a plant brought in. In Bulgaria, this geranium is called "healthy" and like no less than its state symbol - a rose.