Carolina Crane’s Bill, Carolina Geranium
Synonyms of Geranium carolinianum (12) (Updated on 12-25-22 from Plants of the World Online): Geranium atrum Moench (1794)(nom. superfl.), Geranium carolinianum f. albiflorum B.Boivin (1967), Geranium carolinianum var. confertiflorum Fernald (1935), Geranium carolinianum var. confertifolium Fernald (1935), Geranium carolinianum var. sphaerospermum (Fernald) Breitung (1957), Geranium carolinum Crantz (1766), Geranium dissectum var. carolinianum (L.) Hook.f. (1864), Geranium langloisii Greene (1897), Geranium lanuginosum Jacq. (1797)(nom. illeg.), Geranium lenticulum Raf. (1837), Geranium sphaerospermum Fernald (1935), Geranium thermale Rydb. (1900)
Geranium carolinianum L. is the accepted scientific name for Carolina Crane’s Bill. It was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
The genus Geranium Tourn. ex L. was also described by Linnaeus but he gave credit to Joseph Pitton de Tournefort for first naming and describing the genus. Many databases omit the “Tourn. ex”.
As of 12-25-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 354 species in the Geranium genus. It is a member of the plant family Geraniaceae with a total of 8 genera. Those numbers could change periodically as updates are made on POWO.
The above distribution map for Geranium carolinianum is from Plants of the World Online. Areas in green are where the species is native and purple where it has been introduced. The map from the USDA Plants Database for the United States and Canada is somewhat different. The species is listed as invasive in several states.
The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations. The maps on iNaturalist are continually updated as members post new observations.
THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE AGE FOR FURTHER READING AND TO HELP WITH A BETTER POSITIVE ID.
I first noticed a single plant struggling to survive in a HUGE colony of Ranunculus parviflorus south of the pond in the front pasture. Then, on April 24 I noticed a much larger plant in an area behind the chicken house. Most websites say this species is an annual, but MSU Weeds and Wildflowers says differently. They say the species is a biennial, winter annual, or summer annual that forms a 6-12″ diameter rosette the first year and flowers the second.
Even without flowers, these plants have really neat leaves. If the leaves didn’t have all those lobes they would be somewhat round, larger leaves about 3″ wide and slightly shorter. Information says leaves are somewhat kidney-shaped, deeply palmately 5-9 lobed, and are sparsely to densely pubescent (hairy). Lower leaves have long petioles (stems) while the upper leaves have shorter petioles.
The leaves are also “stipulate” meaning there are “stipules” at the base of the petiole where they attach the plant’s stem. Stipules are “leaf-like” appendages, usually in pairs, at the base of the leaf stem. With Geranium carolinianum, the stipules are a pinkish color.
New stem growth is covered with white hairs, so much that the stems appear white.
The above photo is a good example of the plant’s pinkish stipules and new branched coming from the leaf axils along the stem.
The above photo shows heavy veining on the undersides of the leaves. Leave undersides are paler in color than the upper surface due to the very short white hairs.
The above photo was taken on May 2 and shows a multitude of leaves and how much plants bush out by the time they begin to bud.
The above photo shows a cluster of buds on top of the plant. The numerous side branches also terminate with flowers.
I went to check on the progress of this colony on May 11 and the buds were beginning to open.
Ummm… The pinkish flowers have 5 petals with darker pink lines. They are very small so it was somewhat difficult to get a good photo. Besides having 5 petals, they also have 5 sepals, 1 stamen, 5 styles, but no staminodes.
Another leaf shot from May 11, 2020.
A close-up shot of the stipules and hairy stems.
Flowers appear on the end of branches and the top of the main stem in pairs or small clusters.
As you can see, the flowers are very small…
I checked the small colony behind the chicken house on May 29 and almost couldn’t find it in the tall grass. Then I walked to see about the one below the pond and found a HUGE colony I hadn’t noticed before. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera.
There are more photos from 2022 at the bottom of the page below the links.
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the family farm and in other areas. The farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street, and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and most have pages listed on the right side of the blog. I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a horticulturalist I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at email@example.com. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
MSU-MIDWEST WEEDS AND WILDFLOWERS
NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
KANSAS WILDFLOWERS AND GRASSES
GARDENING KNOW HOW
EAT THE WEEDS
NOTE: The data (figures, maps, accepted names, etc.) may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates. Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. Some of the links may use a name that is a synonym on other sites. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates “at least” once a year and when I write new pages or add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂
PHOTOS TAKEN IN 2022…