Carolina Geranium or Carolina Cranesbill, Geranium carolinianum
Geraniaceae or Geranium Family


Medium-sized plant, to a foot tall, but sometimes sprawling. Stems turning reddish, covered with fine hairs. Leaves opposite, divided into 3 to 9 narrow lobes that spread like the fingers of a hand (palmately lobed). Each main lobe is further lobed, or has coarse teeth. Leaves are grayish green because of a coating of fine white hairs and usually have long leafstalks. Flowers on short stalks in small clusters, white to pink, with 5 notched petals. Fruit a capsule with a long beak (hence the name "cranesbill"), green to red, which splits open to release the seeds. Blooms in summer.

Bud and Leaf

Despite being native in most of the US and southern Canada, it likes weedy habitats, lawns, roadsides, disturbed places. It also occurs on balds and outcrops. Occasional in Wildwood.

There are a number of geraniums in the Park. The exotic small geranium has similar flowers, but they have almost no notches in the petals, and the plant is weak and creeping. The exotic dovefoot geranium (G. molle) is a smaller plant with almost round leaves less deeply notched and pink flowers that seem to have 10 petals. Long-stalked cranesbill (G.columbinum) has pink to purple flowers on long stalks. The native wild geranium (G. maculatum) is a larger plant with larger leaves and larger flowers.


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