Friday, June 30, 2017

A bloodier than usual bloody cranesbill

I've often wondered why bloody cranesbill Geranium sangineum is so-called, because the flower is magenta, not the colour of blood at all. According to Richard Mabey, in his Flora Britannica, the name originally referred to the redness of the stalks, but it seems odd that they should take prerefence over the flowers in the naming of the plant. Anyway, this one is fairly typical ......

....... but this one is much bloodier. Still not the colour of real blood, but closer to it.

This single red-hued plant grows amongst the typical ones on the cliffs at Seaham on the Durham coast.

A couple of years ago I collected seed from it and some of the plants are flowering in the garden this year, but so far they are all magenta blooms.

So now I'm going to try rooting a side shoot from a small cutting. 

Interesting varieties of wild flowers were the mainstay of gardens in these islands long before exotic species were introduced from overseas, and often appear on the decorative borders of medieval manuscripts, so bringing this variety into cultivation will be a continuation of a long-established horticultural tradition.


  1. I always thought it was the red 'splashes' which appear on the leaves as they mature, these really are blood coloured.

    1. Thanks, I hadn't thought of that. Though I suppose the same is true of other Geranium species, like G. robertianum and G. lucindum, whose old leaves turn red.


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