The Latin specific epithet sylvaticum means "of woodland", referring to the plant's native habitat, as does its common name "wood cranesbill".
The plant grows to 75 cm (30 in) tall by 60 cm (24 in) wide, it is a mound-forming herbaceous, gynodioecious perennial with deeply cut and toothed 7-lobed basal leaves. In summer, flowers are borne on stalks with ruffs of leaves. The flower colour ranges from mauve to sky blue, depending on soil conditions. It has 10 stamens and glandular-hairy fruits.
G. sylvaticum is one of many Geranium species which are valued in gardens. It is suitable for cultivation in temperate climates in reliably moist, lightly shaded positions, as the name suggests. It is particularly useful for underplanting deciduous trees, roses, lilies, and other summer-flowering subjects. Various cultivars have been selected, of which 'Album' and 'Mayflower' have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
Uses and traditions
- Elzinga, J.A., and Varga, S. 2017. Prolonged stigma and flower lifespan in females of the gynodioecious plant Geranium sylvaticum. Flora 226:72-81
- RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
- Marjorie Blamey and Richard Fitter, Collins Handguide to Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe, Wiliam Collins Sons & Co. Ltd., London, 1979
- Webb, D.A. Parnell, J. and Doogue, D. 1996. An Irish Flora. Dundalgan Press Ltd, Dundalk ISBN 0-85221-131-7
- "RHS Plant Selector - Geranium sylvaticum 'Album'". Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Geranium sylvaticum 'Mayflower'". Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- Plantlife website County Flowers page
- Hilderic Friend, Flower Lore, Para Research, Inc., Rockport, Massachusetts 1981.
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