Pelargonium capitatum

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Pelargonium capitatum
Pelargonium capitatum1.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Geraniales
Family: Geraniaceae
Genus: Pelargonium
Species: P. capitatum
Binomial name
Pelargonium capitatum
(L.f.) L'Hér. ex Aiton
Pelargonium capitatum inflorescence hosting a bee; the corbicula displays the colour of the pollen

Pelargonium capitatum is one of several species (including Pelargonium graveolens) known as rose geranium[1] or rose-scented pelargonium in English. The popular names refer to the scent of the essential oils extracted from glandular tissue, not the flowers, which have hardly any scent to speak of. Some of the species are known as kusmalva (meaning, roughly, "coastal geranium") in Afrikaans. It is found in fynbos along the coast of South Africa, from Lamberts Bay east to Kwazulu-Natal. It is a popular and convenient ornamental plant and it also is one of the species of Pelargonium cultivated as a source of essential oils.

Pelargonium capitatum is a low shrub up to about 100 cm (39 in) in height and 1.5 m across. The stems are soft and coated in green, glandular hairs. Brushing against a bush releases a copious scent of the essential oil from damaged hairs. The flowers range from white through various shades of pink to purple. Its preferred habitat is on sand dunes, but it is a fast grower on any reasonable base, including hard clayey soil, so it readily colonises disturbed habitat.[2]

Pelargonium capitatum is one of a number of related plants that have become a major problem in coastal regions of southwest Western Australia, where it invades banksia woodland and coastal heathland.[3]

Pelargonium capitatum is readily propagated from seed or cuttings, and grows best in well drained sandy soils.[2]


  1. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (XLS) on 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  2. ^ a b Adams, Trevor (November 2005). "Pelargonium capitatum (L.) L'Hér.". South African National Biodiversity Institute. Retrieved 8 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "Pelargonium capitatum (L.) L'Her.". FloraBase. Department of Environment and Conservation, Government of Western Australia.