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Author Topic: What is the difference between pelargoniums and geraniums?  (Read 6102 times)

Offline Cosmos

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What is the difference between pelargoniums and geraniums?
« on: 27 November, 2017, 09:07:10 PM »
Is there an easy way to tell the difference?
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Offline P-Kasso2

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Re: What is the difference between pelargoniums and geraniums?
« Reply #1 on: 02 December, 2017, 11:38:39 PM »
Is there an easy way to tell the difference?

Ooo!  I can answer this! I can answer it but only because I am a mad keen gardener and, as a keen gardener, I frequent several gardening websites - one of whom kindly answered this question for me when I was wondering about the difference between geraniums and pelargoniums a while back.

There are some simple ways to tell the difference (mainly the thickness of the stems and counting their stamens)and some pretty complicated ways - so I have summarised it at the very end and also italicised the easiest ways. In whole, the site (called Gardenweb) says this...


"While the genera Geranium and Pelargonium are related, both being members of the family Geraniaceae, they are quite distinct.

True geraniums, also known as cranesbills, referring to the shape of the fruit, for the most part have symmetrical flowers with ten fertile stamens.

Most Pelargoniums have bilaterally symmetrical flowers with up to seven of the ten stamens fertile. True Geraniums have a different seed dispersal technique than Pelargoniums.

Geraniums fling their seeds away while Pelargonium seeds float away on the breeze and usually have a 'feathered ' end that Geraniums don't have. Of course, you can only see this when they are producing seeds.

Pelargoniums are tender perennials and occur naturally almost entirely within South Africa. Leaves of true geraniums are usually deeply divided and cut while those of most groups of pelargoniums are not.

Pelargonims also have rather thick, succulent stems, originating as they do from areas where they have to withstand summer drought, whereas geraniums have the appearance of 'normal' herbaceous perennial plants, a mounding form of many many slender stems arising from a central core, and fibrous roots.

Plants sold at garden centres that are labelled "Ivy Geranium", "Scented Geranium" and "Zonal Geranium" are actually three different species of pelargonium. Some names that true geraniums are commonly known by are "Hardy Geranium", "Geranium" and "Cranes Bill"."


To sum it up,
true geraniums (for the most part) have symmetrical flowers with ten fertile stamens.

Most Pelargoniums have bilaterally symmetrical flowers with up to seven of the ten stamens fertile.

Leaves of true geraniums are usually deeply divided and cut - while those of most groups of pelargoniums are not.

Pelargonims also have rather thick, succulent stems - whereas geraniums have the appearance of 'normal' herbaceous perennial plants, a mounding form of many many slender stems arising from a central core, and fibrous roots.

Does any of this help answer your question?

From [/b]http://faq.gardenweb.com/discussions/2766084/what-is-the-difference-between-a-geranium-and-a-pelargonium

« Last Edit: 02 December, 2017, 11:46:43 PM by P-Kasso2 »
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