Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pelargonium grossulariodes, Coconut Geranium

 Pelargonium grossulariodes Syn P parviflorum
If not for the strongly scented leaves reminiscent of coconut mixed with candied orange peel, this scruffy little native plant from South Africa may never have made it into the garden scene where it has had a place since 1789. The tiny insignificant flowers are hardy noticeable but at this time of year, it, like many in the genus, put on a display of vibrant orange leaves. Not a lot, just a few tucked away amongst the mound of leaves.
  coloured leaf
 Tiny magenta flowers
The coconut Geranium is a bit of a trailer and spreads by sending off these long red stems from the centre of the plant. I think this is just a way of giving the developing seed, which eventually emerges with a feathery tail, a chance for it to blow away to colonize a new patch, which it has done quite well in many parts of the world most notably California and India.
I keep mine in a pot and it has never become weedy . If planted in the garden it is useful in a shady corner or a damp spot like its native habitat ,but it may go unnoticed by all except those with an interest in scented leaf Geraniums.

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