Geranium sanguineum

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Geranium sanguineum
Geranium sanguineum - verev kurereha.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Geraniales
Family: Geraniaceae
Genus: Geranium
Species: G. sanguineum
Binomial name
Geranium sanguineum
  • Geranium grandiflorum Gilib.
  • Geranium lancastriense Miller (1768)
  • Geranium lancastriense With.
  • Geranium prostratum Cav. (1787)
  • Geranium sanguineiforme (Rouy) A. W. Hill

Geranium sanguineum, common names bloody crane's-bill[1] or bloody geranium, is a species of hardy flowering herbaceous perennial plant in the genus Geranium, Geraniaceae family.[2] It is also the county flower of Northumberland.

Geranium sanguineum 'Striatum'


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.


Close-up on a flower of Geranium sanguineum

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.[3] 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[4] 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.[3]


Geranium sanguineum is native to Europe and temperate Asia. It is widespread in most of Europe up to Caucasus. In the north-east of Ireland it is a rare garden escape.[5]


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 (0–3,937 ft) above sea level.[3]


It is cultivated as a garden subject, and a number of different cultivars exist. The following cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:-

  • 'Album'[6]
  • 'Ankum's pride'[7]
  • 'Shepherd's warning'[8]
  • G. sanguineum var. striatum[9]



  1. ^ "BSBI List 2007" (XLS). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  2. ^ "Geranium sanguineum". GRIN Taxonomy for plants. USDA ARS. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Pignatti S. - Flora d'Italia – Edagricole – 1982. Vol. II, pag. 6
  4. ^ Phillips, Ellen; Colston Burrell, C. (1993), Rodale's illustrated encyclopedia of perennials, Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Press, pp. 373–76, ISBN 0-87596-570-9 
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Geranium sanguineum 'Album'". Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Geranium sanguineum 'Ankum's Pride'". Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Geranium sanguineum 'Shepherd's warning'". Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Geranium sanguineum var. striatum". Retrieved 15 July 2013.