Geranium sylvaticum

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Geranium sylvaticum
Geranium sylvaticum (1).JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Geraniales
Family: Geraniaceae
Genus: Geranium
G. sylvaticum
Binomial name
Geranium sylvaticum

Geranium sylvaticum (wood cranesbill, woodland geranium) is a species of hardy flowering plant in the Geraniaceae family, native to Europe and northern Turkey.

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[1] perennial with deeply cut and toothed 7-lobed basal leaves.[2] In summer, flowers are borne on stalks with ruffs of leaves. The flower colour ranges from mauve to sky blue, depending on soil conditions.[3] It has 10 stamens and glandular-hairy fruits.[4]


Flower detail

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'[5] and 'Mayflower'[6] have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[7]

Uses and traditions[edit]

It is the city flower of Sheffield in the United Kingdom.[8]

The flowers yield a blue-gray dye that was used in ancient Europe to dye war cloaks, believing it would protect them in battle. For this reason it was called Odin's Grace.[9]


  1. ^ Elzinga, J.A., and Varga, S. 2017. Prolonged stigma and flower lifespan in females of the gynodioecious plant Geranium sylvaticum. Flora 226:72-81
  2. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 978-1405332965.
  3. ^ Marjorie Blamey and Richard Fitter, Collins Handguide to Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe, Wiliam Collins Sons & Co. Ltd., London, 1979
  4. ^ Webb, D.A. Parnell, J. and Doogue, D. 1996. An Irish Flora. Dundalgan Press Ltd, Dundalk ISBN 0-85221-131-7
  5. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Geranium sylvaticum 'Album'". Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  6. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Geranium sylvaticum 'Mayflower'". Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  7. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 42. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  8. ^ Plantlife website County Flowers page Archived 2015-04-30 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Hilderic Friend, Flower Lore, Para Research, Inc., Rockport, Massachusetts 1981.