Pelargonium sidoides

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Pelargonium sidoides
Pelargonium sidoides Leaves 3264px.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Geraniales
Family: Geraniaceae
Genus: Pelargonium
P. sidoides
Binomial name
Pelargonium sidoides

Pelargonium sidoides is a plant native to South Africa. Its common names include African geranium and South African geranium.


African geranium forms a basal rosette of cordate leaves with a velvet texture and a few short trichomes on long petioles.[1] Its flowers have five dark red to nearly black petals, two of which are sometimes fused. It is often found in flower nearly year-round. It prefers to grow in grasslands with rocky soils. It can be difficult to distinguish from Pelargonium reniforme which grows in a similar area, but tends to have more kidney-shaped leaves.


In cultivation in the UK, Pelargonium sidoides has received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[2] If grown as a perennial it requires protection in winter, as it does not tolerate temperatures below 5 °C (41 °F). It needs a sunny, sheltered position.

A 2013 Cochrane review found limited to no evidence of benefit with Pelargonium sidoides root extract for the symptoms of acute bronchitis, the common cold and acute rhinosinusitis.[3] A summary of this review found that all studies were "from the same investigator (the manufacturer) and performed in the same region (Ukraine and Russia)."[3]

Root extract of Pelargonium sidoides may be sold as a dietary supplement or traditional medicine under various brand names, including Umckaloabo and Zucol, but there is limited high-quality clinical evidence it provides any benefit.[4]


  1. ^ Lis-Balchin, Maria (2003). Geranium and Pelargonium: History of Nomenclature, Usage and Cultivation. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC. ISBN 978-0-203-21653-8.[page needed]
  2. ^ "Pelargonium sidoides". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  3. ^ a b Timmer, Antje; Günther, Judith; Motschall, Edith; Rücker, Gerta; Antes, Gerd; Kern, Winfried V (2013). "Pelargonium sidoides extract for treating acute respiratory tract infections". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (10): CD006323. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006323.pub3. PMID 24146345.
  4. ^ "Pelargonium". 21 November 2019. Retrieved 28 April 2020.