Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

This is one of several annual or biennial Geraniums (Geranium spp.) in Illinois. The majority of these species have been introduced from Eurasia, although some of them are native. All of these species have relatively small flowers, palmately cleft simple leaves (see exception below), and a sprawling to ascending habit. As a result, they can be difficult to distinguish from each other. Northern Cranesbill can be identified through the following combination of characteristics
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Description

This native annual or biennial wildflower develops ascending to sprawling stems about 1½–3' long. The stems are light green to reddish green and pubescent with short spreading hairs. Either opposite or alternate leaves occur at intervals along the stems; the leaf blades are up to 3" long and 3" across and deeply cleft into 3-5 palmate lobes. The leaf margins are sparingly dentate or further divided into small secondary lobes. The upper leaf surfaces are medium green and hairless (or sparingly so), while the their lower surfaces are pale green and pubescent. The petioles are light green and pubescent. At the base of each petiole, there is a pair of small linear stipules. From the axils of the middle to upper leaves, clusters of 2 or more flowers develop on slender pubescent stalks; these stalks are about ¾–1½" long at maturity. Each flower is about 1/3" across, consisting of 5 light pink petals, 5 green sepals, 10 stamens, and a pistil. Fine pink lines radiate from the throat of each flower. The petals are oblong in shape and slightly notched at their tips. The sepals are lanceolate to ovate and pubescent; each sepal has an awn-like tip about 1.5 mm. long. The blooming period occurs during the summer and lasts about 2 months. Usually, only a few flowers are in bloom at the same time. Each flower is replaced by a narrow columnar fruit about ½–¾" long that tapers to a short beak. At maturity, the fruit splits open into 5 slender sections from the bottom, remaining connected together at the apex. By this process, the seeds are mechanically ejected from the mother plant.
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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Northern Cranesbill is restricted to NE Illinois, where it is rare (see Distribution Map). This species is state-listed as 'endangered.' Illinois lies at the southern range-limit of this boreal wildflower. Habitats include woodland openings, sandy Black Oak woodlands, typical and sandy savannas, and rocky outcrops. This wildflower becomes more abundant after a wildfire; there is some evidence that its seeds germinate in response to heat and/or light. Faunal Associations
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: AK, CA, CO, CT, IA, IN, KS, MA, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, ND, NH, NY, OH, PA, SD, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WY.

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States or Provinces

(key to state/province abbreviations)
UNITED STATES
AK CA CO CT ID IL IN IA ME MA
MI MN MO MT NH NY ND OH OR PA
RI SD TN UT VT VA WA WV WI WY

CANADA
AB BC MB NB NF NT NS ON PQ
SK YK

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

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This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS [19]:

1 Northern Pacific Border

2 Cascade Mountains

3 Southern Pacific Border

4 Sierra Mountains

5 Columbia Plateau

6 Upper Basin and Range

7 Lower Basin and Range

8 Northern Rocky Mountains

9 Middle Rocky Mountains

10 Wyoming Basin

11 Southern Rocky Mountains

12 Colorado Plateau

13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont

14 Great Plains

15 Black Hills Uplift

16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands
  • 19. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434]

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Bicknell's geranium occurs in Alaska and Yukon east to Newfoundland, south to Tennessee, Colorado, Utah, and California [9,33,43,45,67,91]. Bicknell's geranium is rare in South Dakota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. It is extirpated in Iowa and Connecticut [45]. Plants Database provides a distributional map of Bicknell's geranium.
  • 9. Anderson, J. P. 1959. Flora of Alaska and adjacent parts of Canada. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. 543 p. [9928]
  • 33. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329]
  • 43. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur; Ownbey, Marion; Thompson, J. W. 1961. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 3: Saxifragaceae to Ericaceae. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 614 p. [1167]
  • 67. Roland, A. E.; Smith, E. C. 1969. The flora of Nova Scotia. Halifax, NS: Nova Scotia Museum. 746 p. [13158]
  • 91. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. The Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944]
  • 45. Kartesz, John T.; Meacham, Christopher A. 1999. Synthesis of the North American flora (Windows Version 1.0), [CD-ROM]. In: North Carolina Botanical Garden (Producer). In cooperation with: The Nature Conservancy; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service; U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. [36715]

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the term: forb

This description provides characteristics that may be relevant to fire ecology, and is not meant for identification. Keys for identification are available [9,33,36,42,49,57,67,78,86,90,91,92].

Bicknell's geranium is a native, annual or biennial forb. It has erect to decumbent stems ascending 4 to 24 inches (10-60 cm) [33,43,59] from a slender taproot [91]. In some cases Bicknell's geranium attains heights greater than 39 inches (100 cm) [9,86]. The flowers are few and small [73]. Fruits are cylindrical capsules and have long stiff hairs or bristles. Bicknell's geranium seeds are dark, oblong and finely pitted [43,47,59].

  • 92. Wofford, B. Eugene. 1989. Guide to the vascular plants of the Blue Ridge. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 384 p. [12908]
  • 9. Anderson, J. P. 1959. Flora of Alaska and adjacent parts of Canada. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. 543 p. [9928]
  • 33. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329]
  • 36. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 42. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 43. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur; Ownbey, Marion; Thompson, J. W. 1961. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 3: Saxifragaceae to Ericaceae. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 614 p. [1167]
  • 47. Kershaw, Linda; MacKinnon, Andy; Pojar, Jim. 1998. Plants of the Rocky Mountains. Edmonton, AB: Lone Pine Publishing. 384 p. [60423]
  • 49. Lackschewitz, Klaus. 1991. Vascular plants of west-central Montana--identification guidebook. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-227. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 648 p. [13798]
  • 59. Munz, Philip A.; Keck, David D. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155]
  • 67. Roland, A. E.; Smith, E. C. 1969. The flora of Nova Scotia. Halifax, NS: Nova Scotia Museum. 746 p. [13158]
  • 73. Standley, Paul C. 1921. Flora of Glacier National Park, Montana. Contributions from the United States National Herbarium. Vol. 22, Part 5. Washington, DC: United States National Museum, Smithsonian Institution: 235-438. [12318]
  • 78. Strausbaugh, P. D.; Core, Earl L. 1977. Flora of West Virginia. 2nd ed. Morgantown, WV: Seneca Books, Inc. 1079 p. [23213]
  • 86. Voss, Edward G. 1985. Michigan flora. Part II. Dicots (Saururaceae--Cornaceae). Bull. 59. Bloomfield Hills, MI: Cranbrook Institute of Science; Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Herbarium. 724 p. [11472]
  • 90. Weber, William A.; Wittmann, Ronald C. 1996. Colorado flora: eastern slope. 2nd ed. Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado. 524 p. [27572]
  • 91. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. The Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944]
  • 57. Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 1986. [Revised edition]. Guide to the vascular flora of Illinois. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 507 p. [17383]

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Diagnostic Description

Taproot slender, leaves cleft nearly (but not completely) to the base; pedicels glandular villous, more than twice as long as the calyx at maturity, sepals with 2-4 mm long subulate tips, petals relatively small, anthers 1 mm or less, stylar beak of fruit 3-5 mm long.

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Type Information

Isosyntype for Geranium nemorale Suksd.
Catalog Number: US 1380358
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): W. N. Suksdorf
Year Collected: 1891
Locality: Banks of Columbia River., Klickitat, Washington, United States, North America
  • Isosyntype: Suksdorf, W. N. 1898. Deutsche Bot. Monatsschr. 16: 222.
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Isosyntype for Geranium nemorale Suksd.
Catalog Number: US 14302
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): W. N. Suksdorf
Year Collected: 1891
Locality: Banks of Columbia River., Klickitat, Washington, United States, North America
  • Isosyntype: Suksdorf, W. N. 1898. Deutsche Bot. Monatsschr. 16: 222.
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Syntype for Geranium carolinianum var. longipes S. Watson in C. King
Catalog Number: US 14308
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): S. Watson
Year Collected: 1869
Locality: Wasatch Mountains., Utah, United States, North America
  • Syntype: King, C. 1871. Rep. U.S. Geol. Explor. Fortieth Par., Bot. 5: 50.
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Northern Cranesbill is restricted to NE Illinois, where it is rare (see Distribution Map). This species is state-listed as 'endangered.' Illinois lies at the southern range-limit of this boreal wildflower. Habitats include woodland openings, sandy Black Oak woodlands, typical and sandy savannas, and rocky outcrops. This wildflower becomes more abundant after a wildfire; there is some evidence that its seeds germinate in response to heat and/or light. Faunal Associations
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Comments: Open woods, fields, lake shores, roadsides, old campfire sites, disturbed soils, and recent burns.

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Habitat: Rangeland Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following Rangeland Cover Types (as classified by the Society for Range Management, SRM):

More info for the term: cover

SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES [70]:

109 Ponderosa pine shrubland

904 Black spruce-lichen

906 Broadleaf forest

920 White spruce-paper birch
  • 70. Shiflet, Thomas N., ed. 1994. Rangeland cover types of the United States. Denver, CO: Society for Range Management. 152 p. [23362]

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Habitat: Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

More info for the term: cover

SAF COVER TYPES [29]:

1 Jack pine

5 Balsam fir

12 Black spruce

13 Black spruce-tamarack

15 Red pine

16 Aspen

18 Paper birch

21 Eastern white pine

27 Sugar maple

37 Northern white-cedar

38 Tamarack

53 White oak

107 White spruce

110 Black oak

201 White spruce

202 White spruce-paper birch

203 Balsam poplar

204 Black spruce

210 Interior Douglas-fir

212 Western larch

213 Grand fir

217 Aspen

218 Lodgepole pine

223 Sitka spruce

224 Western hemlock

225 Western hemlock-Sitka spruce

227 Western redcedar-western hemlock

228 Western redcedar

229 Pacific Douglas-fir

230 Douglas-fir-western hemlock

237 Interior ponderosa pine

244 Pacific ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir

245 Pacific ponderosa pine

251 White spruce-aspen

252 Paper birch

253 Black spruce-white spruce

254 Black spruce-paper birch
  • 29. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905]

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Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

More info for the term: bog

KUCHLER [48] PLANT ASSOCIATIONS:

K008 Lodgepole pine-subalpine forest


K011 Western ponderosa forest

K012 Douglas-fir forest

K014 Grand fir-Douglas-fir forest

K017 Black Hills pine forest

K018 Pine-Douglas-fir forest

K093 Great Lakes spruce-fir forest

K094 Conifer bog

K095 Great Lakes pine forest

K096 Northeastern spruce-fir forest

K107 Northern hardwoods-fir forest
  • 48. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384]

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Key Plant Community Associations

Bicknell's geranium is not a dominant species in any of the habitat types that
it occurs in. It most commonly occurs in northern boreal forests
consisting of varying amounts of jack pine (Pinus banksiana), eastern
white pine (P. strobus), red pine (P.
resinosa), white spruce (Picea glauca), black spruce (P. mariana),
balsam fir (Abies balsamea), quaking aspen (Populus
tremuloides), and paper birch (Betula
papyrifera) [7,31,38,55].
  • 7. Ahlgren, Clifford E. 1979. Buried seed in the forest floor of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Minnesota Forestry Research Note No. 271. St. Paul, MN: University of Minnesota, College of Forestry. 4 p. [3459]
  • 31. Fyles, James W. 1989. Seed bank populations in upland coniferous forests in central Alberta. Canadian Journal of Botany. 67: 274-278. [6388]
  • 38. Haeussler, Sybille; Bergeron, Yves. 2004. Range of variability in boreal aspen plant communities after wildfire and clear-cutting. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 34(2): 274-288. [48445]
  • 55. Maycock, Paul F. 1961. The spruce-fir forests of the Keweenaw Peninsula, northern Michigan. Ecology. 42(2): 357-365. [62688]

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

ECOSYSTEMS [32]:

FRES10 White-red-jack pine

FRES11 Spruce-fir

FRES19 Aspen-birch

FRES20 Douglas-fir

FRES21 Ponderosa pine

FRES23 Fir-spruce

FRES24 Hemlock-Sitka spruce

FRES25 Larch

FRES26 Lodgepole pine
  • 32. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; Lewis, Mont E.; Smith, Dixie R. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998]

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Habitat characteristics

 
Site descriptions for Bicknell's geranium
State, Region, Province Site characteristics
California Open woodlands, coniferous forests, and disturbed places; 2,000 to 4,900 feet (600-1,500 m) [42,59]
Colorado 5,500 to 7,000 feet (1,700-2,100 m) [39]
Illinois Sandy woods, fields; rare [57]
Michigan Rock outcrops; clearings and burns, gravel pits, and trails in woods; open, usually dry, sandy or gravelly ground [86]
Montana Open woods and clearings [20]
Utah Shady moist roadsides at 6,000 to 8,000 feet (1,800-2400 m) [91]
West Virginia Open woods and clearings [78]
Alaska and adjacent Canada Woods, disturbed soil [44]
Blue Ridge Open woods and clearings; infrequent [92]
Great Plains Upland woods; rare [36]
New England Roadsides, "waste land", dry ledges [69]
Northeast US and adjacent Canada Open woods and fields [33]
Pacific Northwest Woodland or open fields [43]
Uinta Basin, Utah Burnt patches; 7,200 feet (2,200 m) [34]
Nova Scotia Recently burned or cleared areas; rare [67]
  • 92. Wofford, B. Eugene. 1989. Guide to the vascular plants of the Blue Ridge. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 384 p. [12908]
  • 33. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329]
  • 34. Goodrich, Sherel; Neese, Elizabeth. 1986. Uinta Basin flora. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ashley National Forest; Vernal, UT: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Vernal District. 320 p. [23307]
  • 36. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 39. Harrington, H. D. 1964. Manual of the plants of Colorado. 2nd ed. Chicago, IL: The Swallow Press, Inc. 666 p. [6851]
  • 42. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 43. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur; Ownbey, Marion; Thompson, J. W. 1961. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 3: Saxifragaceae to Ericaceae. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 614 p. [1167]
  • 44. Hulten, Eric. 1968. Flora of Alaska and neighboring territories. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. 1008 p. [13403]
  • 59. Munz, Philip A.; Keck, David D. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155]
  • 67. Roland, A. E.; Smith, E. C. 1969. The flora of Nova Scotia. Halifax, NS: Nova Scotia Museum. 746 p. [13158]
  • 69. Seymour, Frank Conkling. 1982. The flora of New England. 2nd ed. Phytologia Memoirs 5. Plainfield, NJ: Harold N. Moldenke and Alma L. Moldenke. 611 p. [7604]
  • 78. Strausbaugh, P. D.; Core, Earl L. 1977. Flora of West Virginia. 2nd ed. Morgantown, WV: Seneca Books, Inc. 1079 p. [23213]
  • 86. Voss, Edward G. 1985. Michigan flora. Part II. Dicots (Saururaceae--Cornaceae). Bull. 59. Bloomfield Hills, MI: Cranbrook Institute of Science; Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Herbarium. 724 p. [11472]
  • 91. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. The Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944]
  • 20. Booth, W. E.; Wright, J. C. 1962. [Revised]. Flora of Montana: Part II--Dicotyledons. Bozeman, MT: Montana State College, Department of Botany and Bacteriology. 280 p. [47286]
  • 57. Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 1986. [Revised edition]. Guide to the vascular flora of Illinois. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 507 p. [17383]

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General Ecology

Prefers open sites, woodlands, roadsides, fields, and waste places; does especially well in recently burned areas.

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Fire Management Considerations

More info for the term: low-severity fire

Since fire is required for germination of Bicknell's geranium's soil-stored seeds, the use of fire for management purposes could only have a positive effect on Bicknell's geranium populations. Severe fire would likely be more effective than low-severity fire for promoting Bicknell's geranium.

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Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: cover, duff, fire severity, frequency, litter, prescribed burn, prescribed fire, series, severity, wildfire

Bicknell's geranium is abundant in early postfire communities and becomes infrequent or
absent in subsequent years [1,3,4,6,21,25,54,60,62,84,94]. Within 3 to 5 years after the
Sundance Fire in northern Idaho's western redcedar-western hemlock forest type,
Bicknell's geranium went from 50% frequency
to 0% and became absent at all study sites [74]. Bicknell's geranium cover
was 24% the first year following fire on jack pine sites in northern lower
Michigan and reduced to scattered individuals after 2 to 6 years [1,2]. After the Pattee
Canyon Fire burned through Douglas-fir habitat types in western Montana,
Bicknell's geranium bloomed and set seed in the first postfire year and almost
disappeared the second postfire year [25]. Sidhu [71] studied the early changes in biomass and frequency of
minor plant species following partial logging and prescribed burning in eastern white
pine forests near Chalk River, Ontario. Bicknell's geranium occurred in logged,
unburned stands with an average percent frequency of 5%. Its average percent frequency in
stands that were logged then burned was 23%. Sidhu states that Bicknell's
geranium appeared, from seed origin, 3 weeks after burning and was predominant only after fire. Burning
was conducted in July and sampling in
August, 1972. Bicknell's geranium was not present before logging and burning. Sidhu [72]
continued sampling in September 1972 and June 1973 and provided average percent ground cover
data for Bicknell's geranium for all sample periods, as shown in the table below.
Bicknell's geranium cover on burned sites reached a maximum of 13% the summer
after treatment. This part of the series did not include data for Bicknell's geranium in the logged-unburned
stand, whereas, mentioned above, it was recorded previously.

Average percent ground cover of Bicknell's
geranium at different times
following logging and prescribed burning in white pine forests of Ontario [72]

Treatment

Prefire (July 1972)Time after fire
1 month (August 1972)2 months (September 1972)11 months (June 1973)
Stand1721254242525
Logged-unburned------x0.30x3.00
Logged-backfire--xxx1.604.503.75
102B-headfire--xx0.206.006.9513.10
x = Bicknell's geranium present
but with insignificant cover, -- = not present

Bicknell's geranium seedlings establish more densely with increasing fire
severity. Ohmann and Grigal [61]
contrasted vegetation responses following a spring burn (Little Sioux Fire) and
a summer burn (Prayer Lake Fire). The spring fire was low severity in jack
pine forest. It destroyed
the litter layer but left much of the cool, moist, lower soil layers intact. The
higher-severity summer fire consumed virtually all of the warm, dry forest
floor. Bicknell's geranium did occur following the Little Sioux Fire but was
much more abundant after the Prayer Lake Fire [61]. Average percent Bicknell's
geranium frequency 4 years after the Black River fire in southeastern Manitoba
was 16% on scorched (litter not burned or partially burned), 44% on lightly
burned (litter burned but without or very limited duff consumption), and 59% on
severely burned (forest floor completely consumed) stands. The dominant
species were quaking aspen, balsam fir, white and black spruce, and/or jack
pine. Bicknell's geranium did not occur in a 10-year-old or mature stand
[88,89]. Study sites
on the Superior National Forest were subject to
prescribed fire and wildfire. An unburned portion was also included in the study
area. Bicknell's geranium occurred on burned lands only and was most prevalent
on the severely burned sites. Its percent frequency was 100% after high-severity
wildfire swept through jack pine-black spruce stands and 23% and 47%
in 2 stands of clearcut jack pine with some quaking aspen and paper birch after
a low-severity prescribed burn [5].
Hamilton's Research Paper (Hamilton 2006b)
provides further information on prescribed fire and postfire response of species including Bicknell's geranium.
  • 1. Abrams, Marc D. 1991. Post-fire revegetation of jack pine sites in Michigan: an example of successional complexities. In: Proceedings, 17th Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1989 May 18-21; Tallahassee, FL. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 197-209. [17609]
  • 2. Abrams, Marc D.; Dickmann, Donald I. 1982. Early revegetation of clear-cut and burned jack pine sites in northern lower Michigan. Canadian Journal of Botany. 60: 946-954. [7238]
  • 3. Abrams, Marc D.; Sprugel, Douglas G.; Dickmann, Donald I. 1985. Multiple successional pathways on recently disturbed jack pine sites in Michigan. Forest Ecology and Management. 10: 31-48. [7237]
  • 4. Ahlgren, C. E. 1974. Effects of fires on temperate forests: north central United States. In: Kozlowski, T. T.; Ahlgren, C. E., eds. Fire and ecosystems. New York: Academic Press: 195-223. [7198]
  • 5. Ahlgren, Clifford E. 1960. Some effects of fire on reproduction and growth of vegetation in northeastern Minnesota. Ecology. 41(3): 431-445. [207]
  • 6. Ahlgren, Clifford E. 1966. Small mammals and reforestation following prescribed burning. Journal of Forestry. 64: 614-618. [206]
  • 21. Catling, Paul M.; Sinclair, Adrianne; Cuddy, Don. 2001. Vascular plants of a successional alvar burn 100 days after a severe fire and their mechanisms of re-establishment. Canadian Field Naturalist. 115(2): 214-222. [45889]
  • 25. Crane, M. F.; Habeck, James R.; Fischer, William C. 1983. Early postfire revegetation in a western Montana Douglas-fir forest. Res. Pap. INT-319. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 29 p. [710]
  • 54. Marcum, Les. 1971. Vegetal development on montane fir clearcuts in western Montana. Missoula, MT: University of Montana. 122 p. Thesis. [36494]
  • 60. Ohmann, Lewis F.; Grigal, David F. 1979. Early revegetation and nutrient dynamics following the 1971 Little Sioux Forest Fire in northeastern Minnesota. Forest Science Monograph 21. Bethesda, MD: The Society of American Foresters. 80 p. [6992]
  • 61. Ohmann, Lewis F.; Grigal, David F. 1981. Contrasting vegetation responses following two forest fires in northeastern Minnesota. The American Midland Naturalist. 106(1): 54-64. [8285]
  • 62. Oswald, E. T.; Brown, B. N. 1990. Vegetation establishment during 5 years following wildfire in northern British Columbia and southern Yukon Territory. Information Report BC-X-320. Victoria, BC: Forestry Canada, Pacific and Yukon Region, Pacific Forestry Centre. 46 p. [16934]
  • 71. Sidhu, S. S. 1973. Early effects of burning and logging in pine-mixed woods. I. Frequency and biomass of minor vegetation. Inf. Rep. PS-X-46. Chalk River, ON: Canadian Forestry Service, Petawawa Forest Experiment Station. 47 p. [7901]
  • 72. Sidhu, S. S. 1973. Early effects of burning and logging in pine-mixedwoods. II. Recovery in numbers of species and ground cover of minor vegetation. Inf. Rep. PS-X-47. Chalk River, ON: Canadian Forestry Service, Petawawa Forest Experiment Station. 23 p. [8227]
  • 74. Stickney, Peter F. 1986. First decade plant succession following the Sundance Forest Fire, northern Idaho. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-197. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 26 p. [2255]
  • 84. Van Cleve, K.; Viereck, L. A.; Dyrness, C. T. 1996. State factor control of soils and forest succession along the Tanana River in interior Alaska, U.S.A. Arctic and Alpine Research. 28(3): 388-400. [65672]
  • 89. Wang, G. Geoff; Kemball, Kevin J. 2005. Effects of fire severity on early development of understory vegetation. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 35: 254-262. [60329]
  • 94. Zamora, Benjamin A. 1982. Understory development in forest succession: an example from the Inland Northwest. In: Means, J., ed. Forest succession and stand development research in the Inland Northwest; 1981 March 26; Corvallis, OR. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University, Forest Research Lab: 63-69. [8766]
  • 88. Wang, G. Geoff; Kemball, Kevin J. 2004. The effect of fire severity on early development of understory vegetation following a stand replacing wildfire. In: 5th symposium on fire and forest meteorology; 2nd international wildland fire ecology and fire management congress: Proceedings; 2003 November 16-20; Orlando, FL. Session 3B - Fire Effects on Flora: part 2. [Boston, MA: American Meteorological Society]: 11 p. [64194]

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Broad-scale Impacts of Fire

More info for the term: wildfire

Bicknell's geranium primarily occurs on burned lands. There are many documented instances where Bicknell's geranium was present after fire and not noted prior. Bicknell's geranium was present only after prescribed burning on black oak savannas at Hoosier Prairie Nature Preserve, Indiana [15], was found on burned land only in studies conducted after a variety of fires on jack pine sites in Superior National Forest, Minnesota [5], and was exclusive to jack pine sites burned under prescription and wildfire in northern lower Michigan [1,2]. The table below provides further evidence of Bicknell's geranium's absence from prefire communities.

Percent of plots (n=30) in which Bicknell's geranium was found in jack pine stands burned under prescription in northeastern Minnesota [6]

East Bearskin Lake

Grass Lake

Cut burned Cut unburned Cut burned
Precut Postfire Precut Postcut Precut Postfire
1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1960 1961 1963 1962 1963 1964
0 100 77 87 23 0 0 0 0 97 97
  • 1. Abrams, Marc D. 1991. Post-fire revegetation of jack pine sites in Michigan: an example of successional complexities. In: Proceedings, 17th Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1989 May 18-21; Tallahassee, FL. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 197-209. [17609]
  • 2. Abrams, Marc D.; Dickmann, Donald I. 1982. Early revegetation of clear-cut and burned jack pine sites in northern lower Michigan. Canadian Journal of Botany. 60: 946-954. [7238]
  • 5. Ahlgren, Clifford E. 1960. Some effects of fire on reproduction and growth of vegetation in northeastern Minnesota. Ecology. 41(3): 431-445. [207]
  • 6. Ahlgren, Clifford E. 1966. Small mammals and reforestation following prescribed burning. Journal of Forestry. 64: 614-618. [206]
  • 15. Bacone, John A.; Post, Thomas W. 1986. Effects of prescribed burning on woody and herbaceous vegetation in black oak sand savannas at Hoosier Prairie Nature Preserve, Lake Co., Indiana. In: Koonce, Andrea L., ed. Prescribed burning in the Midwest: state-of-the-art: Proceedings of a symposium; 1986 March 3-6; Stevens Point, WI. Stevens Point, WI: University of Wisconsin, College of Natural Resources, Fire Science Center: 86-90. [16273]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

More info for the term: top-kill

Bicknell's geranium is associated with early postfire environments [6,46] and is not usually recorded in stands prior to burning [1,2,5,6,15]. If it was present in the aboveground vegetation before fire, fire would likely top-kill Bicknell's geranium.
  • 1. Abrams, Marc D. 1991. Post-fire revegetation of jack pine sites in Michigan: an example of successional complexities. In: Proceedings, 17th Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1989 May 18-21; Tallahassee, FL. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 197-209. [17609]
  • 2. Abrams, Marc D.; Dickmann, Donald I. 1982. Early revegetation of clear-cut and burned jack pine sites in northern lower Michigan. Canadian Journal of Botany. 60: 946-954. [7238]
  • 5. Ahlgren, Clifford E. 1960. Some effects of fire on reproduction and growth of vegetation in northeastern Minnesota. Ecology. 41(3): 431-445. [207]
  • 6. Ahlgren, Clifford E. 1966. Small mammals and reforestation following prescribed burning. Journal of Forestry. 64: 614-618. [206]
  • 15. Bacone, John A.; Post, Thomas W. 1986. Effects of prescribed burning on woody and herbaceous vegetation in black oak sand savannas at Hoosier Prairie Nature Preserve, Lake Co., Indiana. In: Koonce, Andrea L., ed. Prescribed burning in the Midwest: state-of-the-art: Proceedings of a symposium; 1986 March 3-6; Stevens Point, WI. Stevens Point, WI: University of Wisconsin, College of Natural Resources, Fire Science Center: 86-90. [16273]
  • 46. Keown, Larry D. 1978. Fire management in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Moose Creek Ranger District, Nez Perce National Forest. Missoula, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Region. 163 p. [18633]

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the term: ground residual colonizer

POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY [75]:
Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)
  • 75. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species comprising secondary plant succession in Northern Rocky Mountain forests. FEIS workshop: Postfire regeneration. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 10 p. [20090]

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Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: fire-return interval, stand-replacement fire, stand-replacing fire

Fire adaptations: Bicknell's geranium regenerates after fire from on-site seed stored in the soil seed bank [74,75,76,88,89].

FIRE REGIMES: Bicknell's geranium occurs in many fire-dependent ecosystems. FIRE REGIMES for plant communities with Bicknell's geranium vary from frequent understory fires in black oak, ponderosa pine, and larch and frequent stand-replacement fire in jack pine to infrequent, stand-replacement crown fires in white spruce. The northern boreal forests where Bicknell's geranium most often occurs are characterized by mixed-severity and stand-replacing FIRE REGIMES. Fire-return intervals in jack pine stands in eastern Canada and the Great Lakes were as low as 15 to 35 years. Fire-return intervals averaged between 50 and 150 years in white spruce stands [27].

The following table provides fire-return intervals for plant communities and ecosystems where Bicknell's geranium is important. For further information, see the FEIS review of the dominant species listed below.

Fire-return intervals for plant communities with Bicknell's geranium
Community or Ecosystem Dominant Species Fire-Return Interval Range (years)
sugar maple Acer saccharum >1,000 [87]
tamarack Larix laricina 35-200 [63]
western larch Larix occidentalis 25-350 [12,18,26]
Great Lakes spruce-fir Picea-Abies spp. 35 to >200
northeastern spruce-fir Picea-Abies spp. 35-200
black spruce Picea mariana 35-200
conifer bog* Picea mariana-Larix laricina 35-200 [27]
jack pine Pinus banksiana <35 to 200 [24,27]
Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine* Pinus contorta var. latifolia 25-340 [17,18,80]
Sierra lodgepole pine* Pinus contorta var. murrayana 35-200
Pacific ponderosa pine* Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa 1-47 [11]
interior ponderosa pine* Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum 2-30 [11,16,50]
red pine (Great Lakes region) Pinus resinosa 3-18 (x=3-10) [23,30]
red-white pine* (Great Lakes region) Pinus resinosa-P. strobus 3-200 [24,40,52]
eastern white pine Pinus strobus 35-200 [87]
aspen-birch Populus tremuloides-Betula papyrifera 35-200 [27,87]
quaking aspen (west of the Great Plains) Populus tremuloides 7-120 [11,37,56]
Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir* Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca 25-100 [11,13,14]
coastal Douglas-fir* Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii 40-240 [11,58,66]
black oak Quercus velutina <35 [87]
western redcedar-western hemlock Thuja plicata-Tsuga heterophylla >200 [11]
*fire-return interval varies widely; trends in variation are noted in the species review
  • 16. Baisan, Christopher H.; Swetnam, Thomas W. 1990. Fire history on a desert mountain range: Rincon Mountain Wilderness, Arizona, U.S.A. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 20: 1559-1569. [14986]
  • 11. Arno, Stephen F. 2000. Fire in western forest ecosystems. In: Brown, James K.; Smith, Jane Kapler, eds. Wildland fire in ecosystems: Effects of fire on flora. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 2. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 97-120. [36984]
  • 12. Arno, Stephen F.; Fischer, William C. 1995. Larix occidentalis--fire ecology and fire management. In: Schmidt, Wyman C.; McDonald, Kathy J., comps. Ecology and management of Larix forests: a look ahead: Proceedings of an international symposium; 1992 October 5-9; Whitefish, MT. Gen. Tech. Rep. GTR-INT-319. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 130-135. [25293]
  • 13. Arno, Stephen F.; Gruell, George E. 1983. Fire history at the forest-grassland ecotone in southwestern Montana. Journal of Range Management. 36(3): 332-336. [342]
  • 14. Arno, Stephen F.; Scott, Joe H.; Hartwell, Michael G. 1995. Age-class structure of old growth ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir stands and its relationship to fire history. Res. Pap. INT-RP-481. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 25 p. [25928]
  • 23. Clark, James S. 1990. Fire and climate change during the last 750 yr in northwestern Minnesota. Ecological Monographs. 60(2): 135-159. [11650]
  • 26. Davis, Kathleen M. 1980. Fire history of a western larch/Douglas-fir forest type in northwestern Montana. In: Stokes, Marvin A.; Dieterich, John H., tech. coords. Proceedings of the fire history workshop; 1980 October 20-24; Tucson, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-81. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 69-74. [12813]
  • 27. Duchesne, Luc C.; Hawkes, Brad C. 2000. Fire in northern ecosystems. In: Brown, James K.; Smith, Jane Kapler, eds. Wildland fire in ecosystems: Effects of fire on flora. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 2. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 35-51. [36982]
  • 30. Frissell, Sidney S., Jr. 1968. A fire chronology for Itasca State Park, Minnesota. Minnesota Forestry Research Notes No. 196. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota. 2 p. [34527]
  • 37. Gruell, G. E.; Loope, L. L. 1974. Relationships among aspen, fire, and ungulate browsing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 33 p. In cooperation with: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Rocky Mountain Region. [3862]
  • 40. Heinselman, Miron L. 1970. The natural role of fire in northern conifer forests. In: The role of fire in the Intermountain West: Symposium proceedings; 1970 October 27-29; Missoula, MT. Missoula, MT: Intermountain Fire Research Council: 30-41. In cooperation with: University of Montana, School of Forestry. [15735]
  • 50. Laven, R. D.; Omi, P. N.; Wyant, J. G.; Pinkerton, A. S. 1980. Interpretation of fire scar data from a ponderosa pine ecosystem in the central Rocky Mountains, Colorado. In: Stokes, Marvin A.; Dieterich, John H., tech. coords. Proceedings of the fire history workshop; 1980 October 20-24; Tucson, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-81. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 46-49. [7183]
  • 52. Loope, Walter L. 1991. Interrelationships of fire history, land use history, and landscape pattern within Pictured Rocks National Seashore, Michigan. The Canadian Field-Naturalist. 105(1): 18-28. [5950]
  • 56. Meinecke, E. P. 1929. Quaking aspen: A study in applied forest pathology. Tech. Bull. No. 155. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 34 p. [26669]
  • 58. Morrison, Peter H.; Swanson, Frederick J. 1990. Fire history and pattern in a Cascade Range landscape. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-254. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 77 p. [13074]
  • 63. Paysen, Timothy E.; Ansley, R. James; Brown, James K.; Gottfried, Gerald J.; Haase, Sally M.; Harrington, Michael G.; Narog, Marcia G.; Sackett, Stephen S.; Wilson, Ruth C. 2000. Fire in western shrubland, woodland, and grassland ecosystems. In: Brown, James K.; Smith, Jane Kapler, eds. Wildland fire in ecosystems: Effects of fire on flora. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 2. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 121-159. [36978]
  • 66. Ripple, William J. 1994. Historic spatial patterns of old forests in western Oregon. Journal of Forestry. 92(11): 45-49. [33881]
  • 74. Stickney, Peter F. 1986. First decade plant succession following the Sundance Forest Fire, northern Idaho. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-197. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 26 p. [2255]
  • 75. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species comprising secondary plant succession in Northern Rocky Mountain forests. FEIS workshop: Postfire regeneration. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 10 p. [20090]
  • 76. Stickney, Peter F. 1991. Effects of fire on flora: Northern Rocky Mountain forest plants. Unpublished paper on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experimental Station, Missoula, MT. 10 p. [21628]
  • 80. Tande, Gerald F. 1979. Fire history and vegetation pattern of coniferous forests in Jasper National Park, Alberta. Canadian Journal of Botany. 57: 1912-1931. [18676]
  • 87. Wade, Dale D.; Brock, Brent L.; Brose, Patrick H.; Grace, James B.; Hoch, Greg A.; Patterson, William A., III. 2000. Fire in eastern ecosystems. In: Brown, James K.; Smith, Jane Kapler, eds. Wildland fire in ecosystems: Effects of fire on flora. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 2. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 53-96. [36983]
  • 89. Wang, G. Geoff; Kemball, Kevin J. 2005. Effects of fire severity on early development of understory vegetation. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 35: 254-262. [60329]
  • 17. Barrett, Stephen W. 1993. FIRE REGIMES on the Clearwater and Nez Perce National Forests north-central Idaho. Final Report: Order No. 43-0276-3-0112. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory. Unpublished report on file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 21 p. [41883]
  • 18. Barrett, Stephen W.; Arno, Stephen F.; Key, Carl H. 1991. FIRE REGIMES of western larch - lodgepole pine forests in Glacier National Park, Montana. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 21: 1711-1720. [17290]
  • 24. Cleland, David T.; Crow, Thomas R.; Saunders, Sari C.; Dickmann, Donald I.; Maclean, Ann L.; Jordan, James K.; Watson, Richard L.; Sloan, Alyssa M.; Brosofske, Kimberley D. 2004. Characterizing historical and modern FIRE REGIMES in Michigan (USA): a landscape ecosystem approach. Landscape Ecology. 19: 311-325. [54326]
  • 88. Wang, G. Geoff; Kemball, Kevin J. 2004. The effect of fire severity on early development of understory vegetation following a stand replacing wildfire. In: 5th symposium on fire and forest meteorology; 2nd international wildland fire ecology and fire management congress: Proceedings; 2003 November 16-20; Orlando, FL. Session 3B - Fire Effects on Flora: part 2. [Boston, MA: American Meteorological Society]: 11 p. [64194]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: climax, presence

Bicknell's geranium is a shade intolerant, ephemeral, pioneer species that occurs after fire from soil stored seed [10,28,46,68,74] already present at the time of disturbance.

As a residual, colonizing species following fire [74], Bicknell's geranium most often occurs in early postfire communities; however, there is evidence that it can occur in later seral communities. Maycock [55] reports the presence of Bicknell's geranium in 75- to 85-year-old white spruce and balsam fir stands on the Keweenaw Peninsula, northern Michigan, that were free from "unnatural disturbance". The presence of charcoal in the soil indicated that the stand was of fire origin. Bicknell's geranium's presence was also recorded in a 130-year-old mixed stand dominated by sugar maple (Acer saccharinum) along with balsam fir, white spruce, and red pine [55]. There was no mention of previous fire in this stand. Taylor [81] reports the presence of Bicknell's geranium on open stream banks and meadows found within climax forests (mainly western hemlock-Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis)) of southeastern Alaska.

  • 10. Archibold, O. W. 1989. Seed banks and vegetation processes in coniferous forests. In: Leck, Mary Allessio; Parker, V. Thomas; Simpson, Robert L., eds. Ecology of soil seed banks. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, Inc: 107-122. [60861]
  • 28. Dyrness, C. T.; Viereck, L. A.; Van Cleve, K. 1986. Fire in taiga communities of interior Alaska. In: Forest ecosystems in the Alaskan taiga. New York: Springer-Verlag: 74-86. [3881]
  • 46. Keown, Larry D. 1978. Fire management in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Moose Creek Ranger District, Nez Perce National Forest. Missoula, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Region. 163 p. [18633]
  • 55. Maycock, Paul F. 1961. The spruce-fir forests of the Keweenaw Peninsula, northern Michigan. Ecology. 42(2): 357-365. [62688]
  • 68. Rowe, J. S. 1983. Concepts of fire effects on plant individuals and species. In: Wein, Ross W.; MacLean, David A., eds. The role of fire in northern circumpolar ecosystems. SCOPE 18. New York: John Wiley & Sons: 135-154. [2038]
  • 74. Stickney, Peter F. 1986. First decade plant succession following the Sundance Forest Fire, northern Idaho. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-197. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 26 p. [2255]
  • 81. Taylor, R. F. 1932. The successional trend and its relation to second-growth forests in southeastern Alaska. Ecology. 13(4): 381-391. [10007]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: breeding system, cover, root crown, top-kill, wildfire

Bicknell's geranium regenerates from seed [5]. Information on pollination, breeding system, seed production, seed establishment, and growth are lacking for Bicknell's geranium. Research is needed on Bicknell's geranium regeneration.

Seed dispersal: The capsules of Bicknell's geranium open explosively, splitting lengthwise from the bottom and flinging seeds away from the parent plant [47]. The large seeds are not adapted for broad wind dispersal [31] but can be transferred by small mammals [5].

Seed banking: Bicknell's geranium stores long-lived propagules in the soil [10,74,75,76,77]. It germinates and flowers in the first 1 to 3 years after fire and stores seeds for long periods between brief postfire flowerings [41,60,68].

Bicknell's geranium seeds have been found in soils of stands 200+ years old; however, the viability of these seeds is unknown. A study conducted in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Minnesota, recovered seeds from soil samples taken from plots in which the time since last disturbance ranged from 3 to 200+ years. The plots occurred in stands of jack pine, red pine, eastern white pine, quaking aspen, balsam fir, paper birch, and white spruce. The viability of the seeds from the old growth was not revealed since seeds from all plots were combined to undergo germination tests. Thirty percent of the combined seeds germinated [7]. Fyles [31] reveals finding Bicknell's geranium seed in soil samples taken from mature jack pine and white spruce stands in central Alberta where parent plants did not occur. He suggests that the seed was deposited by plants growing in the stand in the past and that the population was maintained as a result of extended seed longevity [31].

Germination: The seeds of Bicknell's geranium, in most cases, are stimulated to germinate by fire-induced high temperatures [1,2,22,35,68,85,93]. Bicknell's geranium seeds present in both burned (Little Sioux wildfire) and unburned soils taken from 270-year-old red pine stands in the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area underwent greenhouse germination tests. Bicknell's geranium only germinated from soil taken from the burned land 3 years after fire, suggesting that heat is required to break dormancy [8]. A greenhouse study by Granstrom and Schimmel [35] revealed that dormancy was released after exposure to high temperatures (moist heat, water bath). There was progressively higher germination at temperatures above 100 to 110 °F (40-45 °C), with 90% germination after 10 minutes exposure at 150 to 210 °F (65-100 °C). Lethal temperatures for seeds were in the range of 200 to 230 °F (95-110 °C). Virtually no germination occurred in nonheated seeds [35].

Germination can also be triggered by the warming of the soil [47], such as when the canopy cover is removed. Bicknell's geranium was present on clearcuts on boreal mixed-wood (white spruce, black spruce, balsam fir, jack pine, quaking aspen, paper birch, balsam poplar) forests in Ontario, but was significantly (P<0.05) more abundant on wildfire sites dominated mainly by quaking aspen [38]. Bicknell's geranium was observed growing 3 and 5 years after clearcutting stands dominated by quaking aspen in Alberta. The harvested forest was of fire origin, but no further information on the fire was given [79].

Bicknell's geranium may germinate in the absence of heat treatments as well. Soil samples from partially cut or clearcut boreal stands in the Black Sturgeon Forest northeast of Thunder Bay, Ontario, underwent 3 months of cold storage to mimic stratification. Subsequent greenhouse germination tests were used to identify seed banking species. Bicknell's geranium did germinate from these soils; however, there was no mention of heat treatment applied to samples or recent fire on sampled sites. Bicknell's geranium was not found in the aboveground vegetation at the study site [64].

Vegetative regeneration: Information on vegetative regeneration in Bicknell's geranium is lacking. Bicknell's geranium may sprout from the root crown after top-kill; however, reproduction from seed is Bicknell's geranium's primary method of regeneration.

  • 1. Abrams, Marc D. 1991. Post-fire revegetation of jack pine sites in Michigan: an example of successional complexities. In: Proceedings, 17th Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1989 May 18-21; Tallahassee, FL. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 197-209. [17609]
  • 2. Abrams, Marc D.; Dickmann, Donald I. 1982. Early revegetation of clear-cut and burned jack pine sites in northern lower Michigan. Canadian Journal of Botany. 60: 946-954. [7238]
  • 5. Ahlgren, Clifford E. 1960. Some effects of fire on reproduction and growth of vegetation in northeastern Minnesota. Ecology. 41(3): 431-445. [207]
  • 7. Ahlgren, Clifford E. 1979. Buried seed in the forest floor of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Minnesota Forestry Research Note No. 271. St. Paul, MN: University of Minnesota, College of Forestry. 4 p. [3459]
  • 8. Ahlgren, Clifford E. 1979. Emergent seedlings on soil from burned and unburned red pine forest. Minnesota Forestry Research Notes No. 273. St. Paul, MN: University of Minnesota, College of Forestry. 4 p. [16910]
  • 10. Archibold, O. W. 1989. Seed banks and vegetation processes in coniferous forests. In: Leck, Mary Allessio; Parker, V. Thomas; Simpson, Robert L., eds. Ecology of soil seed banks. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, Inc: 107-122. [60861]
  • 22. Clark, D. L.; Weaver, T. W.; Despain, D. G. 1994. Seedbanks under climax Rocky Mountain vegetation and the effects of fire on them. In: Despain, Don G., ed. Plants and their environments: proceedings of the 1st biennial scientific conference on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem; 1991 September 16-17; Yellowstone National Park, WY. Tech. Rep. NPS/NRYELL/NRTR-93/XX. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Rocky Mountain Region, Yellowstone National Park: 315-316. Abstract. [26294]
  • 31. Fyles, James W. 1989. Seed bank populations in upland coniferous forests in central Alberta. Canadian Journal of Botany. 67: 274-278. [6388]
  • 35. Granstrom, A.; Schimmel, J. 1993. Heat effects on seeds and rhizomes of a selection of boreal forest plants and potential reaction to fire. Oecologia. 94: 307-313. [22867]
  • 38. Haeussler, Sybille; Bergeron, Yves. 2004. Range of variability in boreal aspen plant communities after wildfire and clear-cutting. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 34(2): 274-288. [48445]
  • 41. Heinselman, Miron L. 1981. Fire and succession in the conifer forests of northern North America. In: West, Darrell C.; Shugart, Herman H.; Botkin, Daniel B., eds. Forest succession: concepts and applications. New York: Springer-Verlag: 374-405. [29237]
  • 47. Kershaw, Linda; MacKinnon, Andy; Pojar, Jim. 1998. Plants of the Rocky Mountains. Edmonton, AB: Lone Pine Publishing. 384 p. [60423]
  • 60. Ohmann, Lewis F.; Grigal, David F. 1979. Early revegetation and nutrient dynamics following the 1971 Little Sioux Forest Fire in northeastern Minnesota. Forest Science Monograph 21. Bethesda, MD: The Society of American Foresters. 80 p. [6992]
  • 64. Qi, Meiqin; Scarratt, John B. 1998. Effect of harvesting method on seed bank dynamics in a boreal mixedwood forest in northwestern Ontario. Canadian Journal of Botany. 76: 872-883. [29373]
  • 68. Rowe, J. S. 1983. Concepts of fire effects on plant individuals and species. In: Wein, Ross W.; MacLean, David A., eds. The role of fire in northern circumpolar ecosystems. SCOPE 18. New York: John Wiley & Sons: 135-154. [2038]
  • 74. Stickney, Peter F. 1986. First decade plant succession following the Sundance Forest Fire, northern Idaho. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-197. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 26 p. [2255]
  • 75. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species comprising secondary plant succession in Northern Rocky Mountain forests. FEIS workshop: Postfire regeneration. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 10 p. [20090]
  • 76. Stickney, Peter F. 1991. Effects of fire on flora: Northern Rocky Mountain forest plants. Unpublished paper on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experimental Station, Missoula, MT. 10 p. [21628]
  • 77. Stickney, Peter F. 1993. Effects of fire on upland forests in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Unpublished paper on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT: 3 p. [21627]
  • 79. Strong, W. L. 2004. Secondary vegetation and floristic succession with a boreal aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) clearcut. Canadian Journal of Botany. 82(11): 1576-1585. [52068]
  • 85. Van Cleve, Keith; Viereck, Leslie A. 1981. Forest succession in relation to nutrient cycling in the boreal forest of Alaska. In: Fire and succession in conifer forests of North America. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag: 185-211. [50633]
  • 93. Yarie, J.; Viereck, L.; Van Cleve, K.; Dryness, C. T. 1988. The chronosequence as an aid to understanding the long-term consequences of management activities. In: Dyck, W. J.; Mees, C. A., eds. Research strategies for long-term productivity: Proceedings, IEA/BE A3 workshop; [Date of conference unknown]; Seattle, WA. IEA/BE A3 Report No. 8. Rotorua, New Zealand: Forest Research Institute: 25-38. [17745]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: hemicryptophyte, therophyte

RAUNKIAER [65] LIFE FORM:
Therophyte
Hemicryptophyte
  • 65. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843]

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Life Form

More info for the term: forb

Forb

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Plant Response to Fire

Bicknell's geranium responds favorably to fire and the conditions associated with the immediate postfire environment [6,46]. The passage of fire and accompanying high temperatures break dormancy of and stimulate the soil stored seeds to germinate [1,2,3,22,35,51,68,85,93]. Keown [46] states that as a general rule, the more "intense" a fire is, the more favorable the conditions are for Bicknell's geranium germination. Because Bicknell's geranium is a pioneer species with rapid growth, it most often establishes after fire. Plants die off without recurrent disturbance [10].
  • 1. Abrams, Marc D. 1991. Post-fire revegetation of jack pine sites in Michigan: an example of successional complexities. In: Proceedings, 17th Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1989 May 18-21; Tallahassee, FL. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 197-209. [17609]
  • 2. Abrams, Marc D.; Dickmann, Donald I. 1982. Early revegetation of clear-cut and burned jack pine sites in northern lower Michigan. Canadian Journal of Botany. 60: 946-954. [7238]
  • 3. Abrams, Marc D.; Sprugel, Douglas G.; Dickmann, Donald I. 1985. Multiple successional pathways on recently disturbed jack pine sites in Michigan. Forest Ecology and Management. 10: 31-48. [7237]
  • 6. Ahlgren, Clifford E. 1966. Small mammals and reforestation following prescribed burning. Journal of Forestry. 64: 614-618. [206]
  • 10. Archibold, O. W. 1989. Seed banks and vegetation processes in coniferous forests. In: Leck, Mary Allessio; Parker, V. Thomas; Simpson, Robert L., eds. Ecology of soil seed banks. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, Inc: 107-122. [60861]
  • 22. Clark, D. L.; Weaver, T. W.; Despain, D. G. 1994. Seedbanks under climax Rocky Mountain vegetation and the effects of fire on them. In: Despain, Don G., ed. Plants and their environments: proceedings of the 1st biennial scientific conference on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem; 1991 September 16-17; Yellowstone National Park, WY. Tech. Rep. NPS/NRYELL/NRTR-93/XX. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Rocky Mountain Region, Yellowstone National Park: 315-316. Abstract. [26294]
  • 35. Granstrom, A.; Schimmel, J. 1993. Heat effects on seeds and rhizomes of a selection of boreal forest plants and potential reaction to fire. Oecologia. 94: 307-313. [22867]
  • 46. Keown, Larry D. 1978. Fire management in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Moose Creek Ranger District, Nez Perce National Forest. Missoula, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Region. 163 p. [18633]
  • 51. Lee, Philip. 2004. The impact of burn intensity from wildfires on seed and vegetative banks, and emergent understory in aspen-dominated boreal forests. Canadian Journal of Botany. 82(10): 1468-1480. [51462]
  • 68. Rowe, J. S. 1983. Concepts of fire effects on plant individuals and species. In: Wein, Ross W.; MacLean, David A., eds. The role of fire in northern circumpolar ecosystems. SCOPE 18. New York: John Wiley & Sons: 135-154. [2038]
  • 85. Van Cleve, Keith; Viereck, Leslie A. 1981. Forest succession in relation to nutrient cycling in the boreal forest of Alaska. In: Fire and succession in conifer forests of North America. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag: 185-211. [50633]
  • 93. Yarie, J.; Viereck, L.; Van Cleve, K.; Dryness, C. T. 1988. The chronosequence as an aid to understanding the long-term consequences of management activities. In: Dyck, W. J.; Mees, C. A., eds. Research strategies for long-term productivity: Proceedings, IEA/BE A3 workshop; [Date of conference unknown]; Seattle, WA. IEA/BE A3 Report No. 8. Rotorua, New Zealand: Forest Research Institute: 25-38. [17745]

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Flowering dates for Bicknell's geranium
State, Region, Province Anthesis period
California July to August [59]
Illinois June to August [57]
West Virginia July to September [78]
Blue Ridge July to September [92]
Great Plains June to September [36]
New England Late May to July [69]
Northeast US and adjacent Canada May to September [33]
Pacific Northwest May to August [43]
Uinta Basin, Utah July [34]
Nova Scotia Late June to July [67]
  • 92. Wofford, B. Eugene. 1989. Guide to the vascular plants of the Blue Ridge. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 384 p. [12908]
  • 33. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329]
  • 34. Goodrich, Sherel; Neese, Elizabeth. 1986. Uinta Basin flora. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ashley National Forest; Vernal, UT: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Vernal District. 320 p. [23307]
  • 36. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 43. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur; Ownbey, Marion; Thompson, J. W. 1961. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 3: Saxifragaceae to Ericaceae. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 614 p. [1167]
  • 59. Munz, Philip A.; Keck, David D. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155]
  • 67. Roland, A. E.; Smith, E. C. 1969. The flora of Nova Scotia. Halifax, NS: Nova Scotia Museum. 746 p. [13158]
  • 69. Seymour, Frank Conkling. 1982. The flora of New England. 2nd ed. Phytologia Memoirs 5. Plainfield, NJ: Harold N. Moldenke and Alma L. Moldenke. 611 p. [7604]
  • 78. Strausbaugh, P. D.; Core, Earl L. 1977. Flora of West Virginia. 2nd ed. Morgantown, WV: Seneca Books, Inc. 1079 p. [23213]
  • 57. Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 1986. [Revised edition]. Guide to the vascular flora of Illinois. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 507 p. [17383]

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Life Cycle

Persistence: ANNUAL, BIENNIAL

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Geranium bicknellii

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Geranium bicknellii

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: TNR - Not Yet Ranked

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Information on state-level protected status of plants in the United States is available at Plants Database.

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Management

Management considerations

More info for the term: frequency

Bicknell's geranium was listed as a "weedy species" occurring (percent frequency
0.8%) on agricultural fields in Manitoba [82].
  • 82. Thomas, A. G. 1991. Floristic composition and relative abundance of weeds in annual crops of Manitoba. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 71(3): 831-839. [21786]

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is partial sun, mesic to dry-mesic conditions, and cool to warm summer temperatures. Different kinds of soil are tolerated, including those that are sandy or rocky.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the term: cover

Deer preferred grazing Bicknell's geranium growing in young clearcut-and-burned sites in the Seeley-Swan area of northwestern Montana [54].

Palatability/nutritional value: No information is available on this topic.

Cover value: No information is available on this topic.

  • 54. Marcum, Les. 1971. Vegetal development on montane fir clearcuts in western Montana. Missoula, MT: University of Montana. 122 p. Thesis. [36494]

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Synonyms

More info for the term: fern

Geranium bicknellii Britt. var. longipes (Wats.) Fern. [59,90]

Geranium carolinianum L. var. longipes Wats. [39]
  • 39. Harrington, H. D. 1964. Manual of the plants of Colorado. 2nd ed. Chicago, IL: The Swallow Press, Inc. 666 p. [6851]
  • 59. Munz, Philip A.; Keck, David D. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155]
  • 90. Weber, William A.; Wittmann, Ronald C. 1996. Colorado flora: eastern slope. 2nd ed. Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado. 524 p. [27572]

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The scientific name of Bicknell's geranium is Geranium bicknellii
Britt. (Geraniaceae) [9,33,36,42,45,57,67,78,86,92].
  • 92. Wofford, B. Eugene. 1989. Guide to the vascular plants of the Blue Ridge. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 384 p. [12908]
  • 9. Anderson, J. P. 1959. Flora of Alaska and adjacent parts of Canada. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. 543 p. [9928]
  • 33. Gleason, Henry A.; Cronquist, Arthur. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden. 910 p. [20329]
  • 36. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 42. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 67. Roland, A. E.; Smith, E. C. 1969. The flora of Nova Scotia. Halifax, NS: Nova Scotia Museum. 746 p. [13158]
  • 78. Strausbaugh, P. D.; Core, Earl L. 1977. Flora of West Virginia. 2nd ed. Morgantown, WV: Seneca Books, Inc. 1079 p. [23213]
  • 86. Voss, Edward G. 1985. Michigan flora. Part II. Dicots (Saururaceae--Cornaceae). Bull. 59. Bloomfield Hills, MI: Cranbrook Institute of Science; Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Herbarium. 724 p. [11472]
  • 45. Kartesz, John T.; Meacham, Christopher A. 1999. Synthesis of the North American flora (Windows Version 1.0), [CD-ROM]. In: North Carolina Botanical Garden (Producer). In cooperation with: The Nature Conservancy; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service; U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. [36715]
  • 57. Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 1986. [Revised edition]. Guide to the vascular flora of Illinois. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 507 p. [17383]

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Common Names

Bicknell's geranium

Bicknell's cranesbill

northern cranesbill

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