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Geranium maculatum - Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Login Logout
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Geranium maculatum

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Geranium maculatum, the wild geranium, spotted geranium, or wood geranium, is a perennial plant native to woodland in eastern North America, from southern Manitoba and southwestern Quebec south to Alabama and Georgia and west to Oklahoma and South Dakota.<ref name="grin">Template:GRIN</ref><ref name="bf">BorealForest: Geranium maculatum</ref>

Names

It is known as spotted cranesbill or wild cranesbill in Europe, but the wood cranesbill is another plant, the related G. sylvatium (a European native called "woodland geranium" in North America). Colloquial names are alum root, alum bloom and old maid's nightcap.

Distribution

It grows in dry to moist woods and is normally abundant when found.

Description

Flowers in late spring.

It is a perennial herbaceous plant growing to Template:Convert tall, producing upright usually unbranched stems and flowers in spring to early summer. The leaves are palmately lobed with five or seven deeply cut lobes, Template:Convert broad, with a petiole up to Template:Convert long arising from the rootstock. They are deeply parted into three or five divisions, each of which is again cleft and toothed.

The flowers are Template:Convert in diameter, with five rose-purple, pale or violet-purple (rarely white) petals and ten stamens. In the Northern Hemisphere, they appear from April to June (precise dates depend on the latitude).<ref name=bf/><ref name=mp>Missouriplants: Geranium maculatum</ref> They are grouped in loose corymbs or umbels of two to five at the top of the flower stems.<ref name="illinois">Template:Cite web</ref>

The fruit capsule, which springs open when ripe, consists of five cells each containing one seed joined to a long beak-like column Template:Convert long (resembling a crane's bill) produced from the center of the old flower.<ref name="bf" />

The rhizome is long, and Template:Convert thick, with numerous branches. It is covered with scars, showing the remains of stems of previous years growth. When dry it has a somewhat purplish color internally.<ref name="gleason">Gleason, H. A. (1952). The New Britton and Brown Illustrated Flora of the Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada, Vol. 2, page 457. Hafner Press, New York. 63-16478.</ref>

Cultivation

The plant is well-known in cultivation, and numerous cultivars have been developed. The cultivar 'Elizabeth Ann' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.<ref name = RHSPF>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Other uses

The plant has been used in herbal medicine, and is also grown as a garden plant. Wild geranium is considered an astringent, a substance that causes contraction of the tissues and stops bleeding. The Mesquakie Indians brewed a root tea for toothache and for painful nerves and mashed the roots for treating hemorrhoids.<ref name=pfaf>Plants for a Future: Geranium maculatum</ref>

Gallery

References

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