The graceful long-stemmed species pelargoniums can look just as stunning as any hybrid or cultivar with their long elegant flowers stalks which holds the beautiful delicate flowers and the dainty long leaf stalks that display their aromatic or decorative leaves.
P. capillare is a lovely pelargonium species with very thin petioles which are about 2-6 cm in length. The name Capillare means like thread, most likely because of its very thin leaf stems. The flowers are reddish-pink with raised patches of dark red on the upper petals also with markings of red on both the lower & upper petals, the underside is also darker in colour. This plant shows some similarities to P. tricolor but its leaves are more deeply divided and the flowers differ slightly. It is native to the South Western Cape of South Africa where it grows on mountainsides.
Pelargonium tenuicaule has long spreading rambling stems with five shallow toothed circular leaves. The flowers are cream when they first open but change to white with a dark purple smudge on every petal, The two upper petals are rounded and cupped. This plant can over time look rather bedraggled in appearance, it is native to Namibia and Namaqualand where it grows in rocky places.
Pelargonium spinosum has an unusual spine like petioles, believed to be hard debris from the continuous petioles which give it the appearance of thorns. The leaves are heart-shaped with coarse teeth and are somewhat pungent scented, they also vary in size depending on where they grow on the plant. The smaller leaves are visible on the shorter stems, while the larger are visible on the continuous petioles. The flowers are long ovate large light pink to white in colour with purple veins. It is native to the North-Western Cape and Namibia.
Pelargonium echinatum is another exquisite species, with woody spiny stems and long petioles. The leaves are grey-green ovate with 3-5 shallow lobes. The flowers are usually white but in their native habitat, pink and purple types also exist, followed by a deep red smudge on the upper petals. It is native to Northern Western areas of the Cape in dry conditions and sheltered by rocks or other shrubs, there are a few hybrid forms of this plant such as P. ‘miss Stapleton’.
Pelargonium plurisectum is a low growing shrub with thin branching stems which create a zigzag effect. The leaves are rounded and are divided into five toothed leaflets. The flowers are large orangy red or scarlet in colour with darker markings, to which the lower petals are slightly smaller than the upper petals. It has been discovered growing in Ethiopia and remains dormant for many months, it can also withstand cold conditions more than any other pelargonium.
Others include P. longicaule-has long elegant flower stems with pale pink flowers and dark green deeply divided leaves known as the butterfly bush. P. australe- long branching stems with ovate leaves and up to 12 white flowers native to Australia P. grossulariodes- long reddish stems with fruit scented kidney shaped leaves and small reddish purple flowers. P. Capitatum- long spreading branches with rose scented leaves.
P. peltatum is an attractive pelargonium with beautiful elegant flowers which can vary in colour from pastel shades of pink to pale purple & also white usually with darker veins. The rounded leaves look similar to an ivy leaf which is fleshy and succulent like & has a circular zone in the centre. The sap can be taken orally for a sore throat and when grinded into a paste it can be applied to scratches, light burns and wounds as an antiseptic. It is a slightly succulent climbing or trailing plant that is native to the Eastern & Western Cape of South Africa where it grows in succulent shrubland and coastal areas. It is also a great garden plant for hanging baskets, pots or planted next to trees or trellis. The name ‘peltatum’ is derived from the Latin meaning peltate (shield-shaped, circular) which refers to the leaves of this plant. Many of the modern-day Ivy leaf cultivar and hybrids geraniums are derived from this species, the first was believed to be a cross between P. Peltatum and P. Hotorum and now comes in many forms including miniature ivy leaf, single flower ivy leaf, double flower ivy leaf, rosettes and ones with fancy leaves or bi-colours. The Dwarf ivy leaf geraniums are cultivars that have been altered to be significantly smaller in size than the average ivy leaf pelargoniums which doesn’t require much punning due to their short root system & compact growth. The P. “Millfield rose’ is a hybrid ivy leaf pelargonium which has dwarf double rosebud blooms in a delicate pink shade, which looks like small roses, it has green ivy shaped leaves that show some resemblance to P. Peltatum. Another similar hybrid is the dwarf P. “Millifield Gem which has pale pink flowers with dashes of crimson.
The ivy leaf single-flowered pelargoniums are very popular in Europe and are usually hung up on balconies like that of the Balcon mixed which comes in many colours from white, pink to red and can also grow well in pots and on the patio. The ivy leaf Cascade series have narrower petals and are trailing such as the P. ‘Sofie Cascade’ which has pale pink flowers with darker narrow veins and has a shading of darker pink towards the middle of the flowers. P. ‘bright Cascade’ has very bright reddish flowers and P. ‘Cascade Lila compact’ has bright pale pink/lavender flowers. Others include P.‘Cascade apple blossom’ and P. ‘Cascade white’. The semi-double flower types are more popular in the UK and can come in almost all colours apart from yellow and blue. The ivy leaf ‘Harlequin’ series contains several pelargoniums with striking semi-double flowers, P. Peltatum ‘Harlequin miss liverbird’ is a cultivar that has trusses of white flowers that are flushed with a large area of pink. P. peltatum ‘Harlequin Mahogany’ is very similar but with trusses of white, red, pink flowers, others include P. ‘Harlequin Ted Day” and P. ‘Harlequin Rosy o Day’.
As well as the vast array of ivy leaf geraniums bred for their attractive flowers, They are also admired for their fancy ivy leaves like that of P. ‘L’elegante which has mid-green leaves outlined with white, the edges of the leaves are believed to turn pinkish if left un-watered. Others include Pelargonium x Hortorum ‘Vancouver Centennia’ which has coppery brown-reddish leaves outlined and veined with gold. While Pelargonium x Hortorum ‘Indian Dunes’ has bright yellowish-green leaves with a large coppery brown-reddish zone.
P. betulinum is an attractive sprawling plant with woody branches that can spread over quite a large area. The leaves are small ovate & camphor scented and resemble that of a birch leaf which is why it also goes by the name ‘Birch leaved pelargonium’. The large flowers are strikingly appealing, pink or purple colour with darker markings on the upper petals, which flowers in Spring and Summer. This plant is native to the Western coast of South Africa in sandy areas from Yzerfontein to Knysna.
P. glutinosum is an upright branching pelargonium with greenish soft stems which becomes more woodier as it matures, the stems then turn more brownish in colour. The triangular sticky leaves have a balm/balsam scent, mid-green to dark green colour and are palmately lobed. The beautiful flowers are of a delicate shade of pastel pink with darker markings on the upper petals. This plant is native to the Western Cape in various habitats, where three different forms exist. Usually growing near moving water with moist conditions and on mountainsides.
Pelargonium vitifolium is another pelargonium that becomes woodier as it matures, when young it has soft green stems covered in hairs that turns brown over time. It is an upright branching shrub with heart-shaped coarsely toothed leaves that resembles a vine leaf in shape and has a lemony pungent scent. The flowers are a delicate shade of pink with darker markings on the upper petals, which can also vary in colour from white to pale purple. It is native to South Africa in the Western Cape, in areas of the South & South West where it grows in valleys close to streams.
Pelargonium greytonense also has woody stems when mature, it also has very tiny greenish hairs as well as some occurring longer hairs which later turn brown. The aromatic sweet-scented 3 lobed shallow leaves are palm-like in shape, the flowers can vary from light pink to white with darker markings on the upper petals. This plant is native to a small area of the Western Cape, mainly in the South West where it grows on mountain slopes and in narrow gorges. It was first discovered in the small town of Greyton in the Western Cape.
P. graveolens is a charming pelargonium with strong rosy-mint scented triangular deeply incised leaves which have a soft velvety texture. This plant is an upright branching shrub with soft green stems which become woody as it matures. The flowers range from delicate shades of pale pink to pale purple and with darker markings on the upper petals. This Pelargonium has been well known since the 17th century when its leaves were used in food & beverages, tea, potpourri and perfume. It is native to South Africa in areas of the Limpopo Province and also in parts of the Western Cape to the South East where it grows on mountainsides.
P. inquinans can vary in flower colour from very bright red scarlet, salmon, light pink or white flowers, to which the upper petals are a little smaller in size to the lower three. It is a woody shrub to which the branches become harder & woody as it matures. The leaves are circular or rounded with scalloped edges and have a velvety texture with red glandular hairs. It is native to areas of the Eastern Cape and grows at the edge of succulent scrub land in shale soil.
P. Longicaule is a low growing slightly woody shrub-let with long stems and dark green deeply divided leaves with a reddish tint, which grows woodier as it matures. It has beautiful white to pale pink flowers on long peduncles that resemble a butterfly in shape and is also known as the butterfly bush. It is native to South Africa in the South West Cape where it grows in sand dunes, sandstone and coastal areas.
Other woody species include Woody at base P. Incarnatum P. ovale P. tricolor P. grandiflorum P. laevigatum P. patulium- trailing P. divisifolium P. trifidum P. patulum
Woody branches P. magenteum P. xerophyon P. hirtum P. plurisectum- twiggy like with thin woody stems. P. multicaule P. suburbanum
Woody with age P. dichondrifolium P. abrotanifolium P. karrooicum Woody, Peeling bark and scales P. crithifolium P. laxum P. schizopetalum P. stipulaceum- thickened root stock P. cotyledonis Other -P. ionidiflorum- small woody shrub
Pelargonium bowkeri has a somewhat strange yet impressive flowers, white to yellowy pink or purplish veins with feather like lower petals which forms an inflorescence of up to twelve flowers which blooms in Summer during the rainy period and is scented at night. It also has a tuberous root which stores water that grows to about 3 cm across. The leaves are feathery which is why it is also known as the carrot leaved pelargonium and is native to the Eastern cape, Kwazula-Natal where it grows in grassland or in rocky areas.
Pelargonium auritum has unusual & attractive flowers, which differ in colour depending on the variation. P. auritum var. auritum has dark purple black petals with red anthers and orange pollen and P. auritum var. carneum has white to light pink petals, which form an inflorescence of up to 6 flowers. It has a caudex tuber which grows to about 3 and a half cm across and is dormant in Summer, flowering from September until January The leaves are ellipse or lance-like in shape and is native to the Western and Eastern Cape.
P. antidysentericum has white, purple or pale purple flowers with deep purple streaks on the two upper petals which are larger than the lower and has orange pollen. This plant has a caudex tuber which grows to a thickness of 14 cm and is a turnip-like in shape, becoming woodier with age, the stems range from dark to light brown and the leaves grow on clusters of short branch-lets which are kidney-shaped with rounded lobes, some have a zone. It is native to the Northern Cape where it grows on mountainsides, shrubland, ravines and close to water. It was given the name antidysentericum because it was used as a cure against dysentery.
Pelargonium praemorsum is also known as the five-fingered pelargonium which has rather unique flowers, they are white to cream in colour with the upper petals being considerably larger than the lower petals with reddish or reddish-brown streaks, forming an inflorescence of 1-2 flowers. This plant is a weedy shrub let that is dormant in Summer, it also has a trunk that grows larger as it ages with narrow semi-succulent stems. The leaves are deeply divided, kidney-shaped or rounded and have a spicy sweet-scent.
P. klinghardtense is a somewhat strange but curious pelargonium with chunky succulent knotted stems. This plant doesn’t require much water and grows in rocky deserts in full sun, the flowers are white and contain five yellowy-green sepals on long branching stems. During the summer P. klinghardtense is dormant and loses its leaves which are large and glaucous. It is native to the Northern Cape and southern Namibia, to which it was given the name “Klinghardtense” because of the location where it was first discovered on the Klinghardt mountains.
Pelargonium punctatum also has extraordinary flowers, light yellow to light beige with elongated upper petals and dark reddish dots or markings, the three smaller lower petals also have red dots which flower in winter (October to the beginning of November). It has a caudex tuber which can grow to about 8cm and simple ovate leaves. This plant is native to Southern parts of Namaqualand and the Western Karoo where it grows in shrubland, hilltops and mountain ranges. The name “punctatum” refers to the red dots on the flower petals.
Pelargonium scabrum is a charming pelargonium that has strong lemon-scented leaves with quite a rough texture & rhomboidal in shape. The flowers are white but can also be pink with purple markings on the upper petals and each flowering stalk contains about six flowers. It is an upright branching shrub that grows to about 100 cm /39 inches in height native to the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape where it grows in dry, rocky and coastal areas which has summer and winter rainfall. The name ‘scabrum’ is derived from the Latin meaning having a raised texture, this refers to the leaves of this plant which is covered in rough hairs. Ideal for pots, tubs, fragrant gardens, rock gardens and succulent gardens. This plant prefers dry sandy loam soil conditions (PH. Acid/neutral) in full sun. It differs from the other strongly scented Pelargonium citronellum below by its larger leaves which are palmate in shape with pointed lobes and is also taller than P. scabrum reaching a height of 2 m. The flowers are also larger in size and purplish-pink in colour with darker markings on the upper petals. It is native to the Western Cape where it grows near streams or on hillsides.
Another lemon-scented pelargonium is P. crispum below which also has rough leaves but are much smaller in size with crisped margins. It is an upright plant that grows to about 70 cm /28 inches in height with large pink flowers and darker markings on the upper petals which shows some likeness to P. hermanniifolium.
Pelargonium vitifolium below has a somewhat lemony balm scent on the leaves, which resembles a vine leaf in shape with stiff hairs and are rough to the touch. It is a large upright shrub with coarsely toothed heart-shaped leaves, this shrub can grow quite large and may take over quite a wide area if not pruned in a Mediterranean type climate, it can also survive for short periods of frost or snow when fully grown.
The pelargonium species are not only admired for their wide variety of leaf shapes, scents and floral colours but also for their flower and petal shapes. Some types can vary and there are numerous differences in shape, size, nectar tube length and the number of petals. Some have long oblong petals like that of P. grossularioides left, a fruit scented leaf pelargonium, the flowers of this species tend to be small in size, up to about 10 mm across and form a compact inflorescence of many short flower stalks, like an umbel. The upper petals have dark purple markings and very thin flower stalks. It is a low spreading plant with kidney-shaped leaves that are similar in appearance to a gooseberry leaf.
The purplish-pink flower petals of Pelargonium denticulatum below are also quite oblong but are not so elongated, the upper petal also bends back sightly and the lower petals are slightly smaller in size. Dark red or purple markings are visible on the upper petals, whereas the lower petals contain three petal claws (narrow stalks at the base of the segment). Each flower stalk contains up to six flowers, It is a low growing shrub with dark green sticky finely divided leaves.
The strong lemony balm scented pelargonium vitifolium below has two large upper petals with dark reddish-purple markings and three oblong lower petals with purple veins, at about 15 mm across and appears lighter at the centre. Each flowering stalk contains up to ten pink to light purplish-pink flowers and its leaves resemble that of a vine leaf. This plant is a large upright shrub with coarsely toothed heart-shaped leaves.
The flowers of Pelargonium cucullatum below have large ovate shaped upper petals, narrower at the base with purplish-pink markings & veins, the lower petals are slightly smaller and narrower with lighter pink veins. Each flower is 4 cm across and the flowering stalk contains about five flowers. It is an upright branching slightly woody shrub with rounded toothed leaves that tilt upwards forming a cup shape.
Pelargonium inquinans has red scarlet flowers but also has other colours such as light pink, salmon and white. The flower petals are more rounded and all appear the same size but the two upper petals are slightly smaller and upward, whereas the three lower petals are more equally spaced. The inflorescence contains an array of five to thirty flowers. It is an upright branching shrub with light green heart-shaped leaves with a velvety texture that is covered by glandular hairs.
These flowers listed here are mostly pollinated by bees but others have different sized nectar tubes for various insects to pollinate them, such as beetles, moths, wasps, flies and various bee types that have long tongues.
Love, Lust and Passion in Greek mythology is a new book available on Amazon, it covers the loves, romances, abductions, devious enticements and shape shifting of the three Olympian gods Zeus, Aphrodite and Dionysus, containing 73 illustrations by the Author taken from ancient/old statues, paintings and vases.
The Myths begin with the powerful and almighty Zeus, king of the gods who was known for his devious pursing of beautiful women and occasionally young men of both goddesses and mortals. Several of his abductions took place in the form of an eagle when he would snatch them away in his large talons to a remote place or an island. The second is Aphrodite the goddess of love who had many love affairs of both gods and mortals, for she admired their beauty and was unhappy with her marriage that was arranged by her father almighty Zeus. Her husband Hephaestus created a girdle for her that made her irresistible to all men, using it to her advantage.
The third is Dionysus, the god of the grapevine, a love child of Semele and Zeus who was pursued endlessly and driven crazy by Hera in his youth. The deity took part in festivities, merriment and drunkenness with his devoted followers and like his father he also pursued after the breathtaking beauties of both men and women.
The stories in this book are taken from the original Greek myths, some are poetical like that of Nicaea, a hunter nymph and follower of Artemis, the young shepherd Hymnos fell in love with her conquered by the intensifying emotions of infatuated love, as his cattle was left roaming and he only sees the overall beauty and roundness of the girls face. He trembled in fear to confirm his warm affections of love, but she only mocked him with spiteful and pitiless words. He goes on to confess his love to the huntress “Aye do your worst & hurl your beloved spear at me! So I may depart from this world, escaping the torments of loves intensifying emotions & the fire that burns in my heart! I will die as loves willing carrion by sweet fate!” She kills him with her arrow and showed no feelings of remorse, yet the nymphs were overwhelmed by deep sorrow and the gods get their revenge as Dionysus becomes inflamed with passion by Eros’s arrow of love.
Dionysus then felt a strong yearning for the beautiful nymph “I am here Nicaea, admiring your form, for you have lent your beauty to the flowers that surround me and as I gaze upon the enchanting rose beds I recognise your cheeks, as your delicate rose, is always in bloom and you are also rooted in the soil as a blushing anemone that does not fade, when I turn my eye to the lily & I see your snowy arm, then when I glance upon the iris, I see the rich dark shade of your hair”.
When she shows no interest and mocks him, Dionysus deceives her into drinking from his fountain of wine.
In one myth, Europa was the Sister of King Phoenix (or his daughter stated in the poem the Iliad). Zeus watched her infascination, as she was seated beside her attendants and companions, happily chattering amongst them. She was a princess of exquisite beauty, sweet nature and charm who touched the very heart of the mighty Zeus, recognizing her beauty more than all the others within her circle. He thought up a cunning plan to fool and seduce her by turning himself into a white bull of great splendour and gentleness while blending in with the other cattle on her Father’s estate. The next day Europa was collecting flowers by the coast with her companions when the magnificent white bull came up to her, he was so tame & gentle that she could stroke his head, his back and the sides of his flanks without fear so that he might secure her friendship and trust. The princess and her companions placed flowers all around the bulls head and horns while stroking and caressing him, he knelt down and Europa got up upon his back. She clung onto his horns while he starts to trot towards the shore, as Europa unable to dismount hangs on with all her might as he swam his way, swiftly through the seas until he reaches the Island of Crete. Here he takes her to his birthplace the Cave Diktean Andron where he transforms himself into his original form and offers her a stunning necklace created by the god Hephaestus, followed by a bronze automaton Talos who circles the island three times a day to guard her against intruders, A hound called Laelaps who always catches his prey while hunting and a magical Javelin which always hit its target. He also offers her the gift of immortality & she becomes the first Cretan Queen and the symbol of all of Europe.
Psyche is also a lovely story- Psyche is a princess of royal birth and the youngest of two Sisters, later becoming the goddess of the soul. Her Miraculous stunning beauty not only caused jealously among her sisters but also attracted masses of people, communities, nations and priests who all began to worship her instead of the goddess of love Aphrodite. They would come from far and wide just to admire her beauty and when she walked down the street, people who saw her would throw flowers upon her & cover her with wreaths, neglecting the statues and altars of Aphrodite. This outraged the goddess who wanted to punish her for her fame & admired worshippers, assigning Eros her son to put a love spell upon her so that she would fall deeply in love with the most hideous creature on earth, yet falls in love with her himself.
But Psyche was extremely unhappy with her life and never wished to be admired and worshipped for her beauty, feeling utterly depressed and alone. Her Father noticed this and so goes to the oracles for guidance who told him his daughter must wed the most violent & brutal serpent monster high up on the cliffs. During the wedding ceremony she was instead guided by Eros & the West wind to his abode of magnificent splendour in the woods. He hides his true identity and only comes to her during the night. Her Sisters grew jealous and tricked her into believing he was a monster and to reveal his true form.
“As darkness falls and her husband again comes to her bed, she made sure he was asleep before removing the outer cover of the lamp, she turned to look at him with the sharp blade in her hand but instead of seeing an evil monster she saw a beautiful radiant youth Eros the god of love, she sat beside him and began to stroke his golden locks releasing a scent of ambrosia and his white feathery wings began to glow”.
with this betrayal he left and she was pursued endlessly by Aphrodite.
In another Greek myth – Zeus, during his years of torment & strong desires caused by Aphrodite’s continuous wearing of the magic girdle, longed for revenge, so he calls for Eros the god of love to bewitch her with his love induced arrows, so she would fall deeply in love with the mortal Anchises, a Trojan prince. After the bewitchment, the goddess goes to Paphos in Cyprus to purify herself with sweet-smelling perfumes and is bathed by the graces who anoint her with heavenly floral oils until she is glowing with exceptional beauty. Aphrodite then makes her way to the countryside keeping herself hidden while watching the stunningly handsome godlike youth from afar as he herds cattle on the lower pastures of mount Ida (now in Turkey) and when he finishes his task, he goes into his herder’s hut and plays a joyful tune on his lyre. Aphrodite with an intensifying passion in her heart goes to visit him there while portraying herself as a mortal & virginal maiden. Anchises is immediately taken in by her mesmerising beauty and glowing garments of elaborate gold details but can clearly see that she is a goddess or an immortal being of some kind and is suspicious. But she assures him that she is a Princess from the kingdom of Phrygia, central Anatolia and was given to him as a gift by the god Hermes as a potential bride. Anchises who is utterly convinced that she speaks the truth is immediately overcome with desire and passion for the lovely maiden princess and so took her to his bed, removing her elaborate golden brooches, earrings and necklaces, then unbinding her girdle and removing her robes, carefully placing them upon a chair trimmed with silver. Aphrodite has a child by him called Aenens who was brought up by the nymphs of the surrounding mountains.
Love, lust and passion in Greek mythology book 1- Zeus, Aphrodite and Dionysus is available to buy at Amazon.
Pelargonium echinatum has an exquisitely beautiful inflorescence of 3-8 large white flowers with bright red markings on the upper petals, arranged in an umbel shape which is winter flowering, also ranging in colour from pink to dark purple. The leaves are heart-shaped with greyish green leaves which have scalloped margins, in Summer this plant loses its leaves and absorbs the sunlight through its stems. It is a succulent low growing shrub native to the Northern Cape and Western Cape where it grows on a stony and rocky areas on cliffs or slopes. The name ‘echinatum’ is derived from the Latin meaning covered in sharp-pointed stipules, a small leaflike appendage usually at the base of the petiole stalk. Ideal for pots but prefers hot dry conditions in Summer and requires little watering during that period. In its natural habitat, it can withstand temperatures up to 40 c and can live up to 20 years.