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Feb 2006 WILD GERANIUM
N. Walker

Wild Geraniums are in the same genus as the annual geraniums people grow in pots. However, the wild version, Geranium maculatum is perennial and much more hardy. They grow from tough underground rhizomes and can withstand harsh conditions. Indians ground dried rhizomes into powder to stop bleeding and also to make a medicine for sore throats.

At a certain stage the unopened fruit looks like a crane's bill, thus the alternate common name "cranesbill". The flowers open for one or two days. The seeds "pop" from the seed capsule and can fly several yards. They can be manually triggered similar to the way jewel weed can be "popped". The flower has lines on the petals called nectar guides pointing to the center. This supposedly helps pollinating insects find their way to a meal. The flowers progressively go through male and female stages and need a certain kind of wasp to provide transfer the pollen for fertilization.