Monday, June 1, 2009

Crane’sbills: five that are in flower now











Five crane’sbill species are flowering in our wild flower garden at the moment. Herb Robert Geranium robertianum (bottom) seeds itself everywhere and is a great in-filler between other plants. The first of the larger-flowered crane’sbill species to flower is dusky crane’sbill Geranium phaeum, whose rather more sombre but graceful flowers are the first of the larger flowered species to come into bloom. Strictly speaking it’s not a native wild flower, originating from the mountains of central and southern Europe, but it’s quite widely naturalised in the countryside. Next up is wood crane’sbill Geranium sylvaticum, which flowers in hedgerows and woodland edges from mid-spring onwards. It’s followed in early summer by the delightful meadow crane’sbill Geranium pratense, a key component of northern Pennine haymeadows, whose flowers are bluer and leaves more highly dissected than those of wood crane’sbill. Finally, at the top, there’s bloody crane’sbill Geranium sanguineum, a characteristic species of the Northumberland coastline, where it produces fabulous displays in the grassland on the edge of sand dunes. All are united in the genus Geranium by the shape of their fruit, which elongates to resemble a crane’s beak as it ripens; the Latinise generic name for all of them,Geranium, comes from the Greek geranos, a crane.

6 comments:

  1. Was just passing by and just wanted to say that we enjoyed your blog.

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  2. Beautiful shots Phil.
    I never realised there were so many.
    I think the second from last has to be my favourite.

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  3. Beautiful, Phil. Love the second & third pics. Lovely colors.

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  4. Greetings NatureStop, Thank you for your kind comments. I see you are living in Oman. Some years ago now one of my research students had a research project working on the desert trees that grow in the Wahiba Sands desert there.

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  5. Hi Keith, There are also quite a lot of cultivated varieties of meadow cran'sbill. They have amazing seed dispersal mechanisms that work like medieval siege catapults - I'm hoping to get some pictures later in the summer

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  6. Hi Les, One of the things that's intriguing about crane'sbill flowers is the way the stigma tip splits five ways and rolls back, ending up looking like a grappling hook.

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