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Geranium wlassovianum

Geranium wlassovianum
Wlassov's cranesbill

Common name Wlassov's cranesbill
Family geraniaceae
Life cycle perennial
Flowers purple (July)
Seed ripensearly September

Not sure if I have the correct identification on this one. In mid-summer of the year I started these from seed, I spotted a tiny cranesbill flower on a sprawling leafy stalk. According to online sources, this plant is supposed to grow taller than its width, with larger flowers. I certainly enjoyed its fiery red fall foliage. I reserved judgment until this year, and indeed at least one of the plants (pictured above) looks more like what I was expecting. Interestingly, the newly re-emerging plants feature purple-mottled leaves; they turn plain green by late spring.
Recently I've come to suspect that my seed source contained two distinct species of geranium, one of which may be G. wlassovianum. The species that produced the tiny first-year flower is probably not – it appears to be closer to G. palustre. This one has been a vigorous self-seeder in our garden, colonizing quite a few areas. Its flowers stay tiny, and tend to be closed at dark and in overcast conditions, which is unusual for cranesbills.

Geranium wlassovianum
Wlassov's cranesbill
In October the plants are covered with "cranesbill" seed structures; the ones at left have already shot their seeds out; the ones at right are ready to shoot.
Geranium wlassovianum
That tiny first-year flower
The photos below are specific to the small-flowered, rampant species mentioned above; they capture the appearance of a colony at the rockpile of our blueberry plot

Wlassov's cranesbill
Notice the scale: the flowers don't dwarf the tiny hoverfly
Geranium wlassovianum
Petals held closed in overcast condition
Wlassov's cranesbill
Five-pointed leaves

We left this plant behind in our Pennsylvania garden (and wish it well); we don't grow it in Houston.

Read about all the cranesbills and heronsbills in our garden on my geraniums page

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Seed-starting details for this plant

  1. Seed from '09 garden. Baggy 70F (4w) - 35F (45d) - 70F (39%G, 4-16d)

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