Geranium sanguineum, commonly called bloody cranesbill or bloody geranium, is a species of hardy flowering herbaceous perennial plant in the genus Geranium, Geraniaceae family. It is also the county flower of Northumberland and equally the county's affiliated ship, HMS Northumberland.
The genus name is derived from the Greek γέρανος ("géranos"), meaning crane, with reference to the appearance of the fruit capsule. The specific Latin name sanguineum refers to the red color assumed by the leaves in Autumn.
The biological form of Geranium sanguineum is hemicryptophyte scapose, as its overwintering buds are situated just below the soil surface and the floral axis is more or less erect with a few leaves. It has a thick rhizome. The stems are prostrate to ascending, well developed, very branched and hairy. This plant reaches on average 30–50 centimetres (12–20 in) in height. The petiolate leaves have five lobes (or segments), each segment is tripartite in large teeth. The flowers have a diameter of 2.5 to 4 cm. and are purple The flowering period extends from May through October. The flowers are hermaphrodite and pollinated by insects (entomophily). The most common flower visitors are Syrphidae and Hymenoptera, but also butterflies and Coleoptera. The fruit is a capsule consisting of five achenes, with a pubescent surface.
The typical habitat of this species are the woods, especially deciduous forests, forest edges, the dry bushy hillsides, arid grasslands and xerophilous scrubs (including rocky slopes). It prefers siliceous and calcareous soil with neutral pH, with low nutritional value, at an altitude of 0–1,200 metres (0–3,900 ft) above sea level.
Plants of Geranium sanguineum
Flowers of Geranium sanguineum
Close-up on a flower of Geranium sanguineum – lateral view
Fruits of Geranium sanguineum
Leaves of Geranium sanguineum
Leaves of Geranium sanguineum in Autumn
- Pignatti S. - Flora d'Italia – Edagricole – 1982. Vol. II, pag. 6
- Phillips, Ellen; Colston Burrell, C. (1993), Rodale's illustrated encyclopedia of perennials, Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Press, pp. 373–76, ISBN 0-87596-570-9
- Hackney, P.1992."Flora of the North-east of Ireland." Institute of Irish Studies and The Queen's University of Belfast. ISBN 0-85389-446-9 (HB)