Pelargonium griseum is a tall spreading shrub-let which has unique flowers compared to other pelargonium species. The flower contains four petals in which the upper petals roll lengthways forming a tube with two lower smaller petals. The flowers are light pink with darker pink markings and long stamens. The leaves are small and are multi-divided greyish green. P. griseum is a rare pelargonium in gardens and is native to the Cape Province which grows on hill sides and slopes, similar to P. dolomiticum & P. tragacathoides.
Pelargonium antidysentericum is a upright or trailing plant that can grow into a large shrub and becomes more woody with age. This pelargonium has pale purple to mid purple flowers with pinkish purple markings, each flowering stalk contains 2-5 flowers. It is aromatic with an underground tuber which can grow to 14 cm across, the leaves are kidney shaped & 5 lobed but can vary, some types are zoned and are greyish green in colour while others are light green without being zoned, there are said to be three subspecies of this plant.
The name “antidysentericum” is derived from the pharmacological word antidysenteric meaning medicine for dysentery, the Khoikhoi (hottentots) aboriginal people of South Africa used this plant to treat dysentery and also for anemia. It was given the name by Vincenz Franz Kosteletzky a bohemian doctor and botanist who studied medicinal plants (1801-1887).
Pelargonium antidysentericum grows in South Africa in the Northern Cape where it grows on hillsides in rocky areas.
Pelargonium ranunculophyllum is a small shrub with elegant white flowers and red blotches on the upper & lower petals but this may vary. The blueish green leaves are circular to kidney shaped , sharp toothed with a dark reddish purple zone in the centre, the foliage is similar to that of P. alchemilloides.
This plant grows wild in the Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal and grows on rocky slopes.
P.elargonium salmoneum has elegant salmon pink flowers with darker veins on the upper petals and thick yellowish green semi succulent leaves that fold upwards. It prefers well drained sandy/loam soil conditions (PH acid/neutral) in full sun and may need cutting back every alternate year to create a more spreading & leafy growth and a fertilizer containing seaweed once a week (optional) during the Autumn.
It is uncertain where P. salmoneum originates from, possibly the Eastern Cape as it was collected here by Henry G Flanagan a South African farmer and plant collector during the 1800s. This plant was also grown in the communal garden in port Elizabeth during the 20th century, but by some it is regarded as a hybrid although it has characteristics of a species pelargonium.
In 1732 a plant similar to P. salmoneum was mentioned by Johann Jacob Dillenius a German botanist possibly in the botanical papers of Hortus Elthamensis a catalogue of rare plants describing a pelargonium with yellowy green waxy leaves and and light red flowers. Robert Sweet an English botanist and horticulturist also mentioned that Johann Jacob Dillenius plant description was a hybrid of P. zonale and P. inquinans known as Pelargonium x hybridum (Kew 1789) but the Leaves and flowers differ from P. salmoneum so the mystery still remains.
P. sibthorpiifolium is an unusual and critically endangered xerophyte pelargonium that grows in Northern and Southern areas of the Orange river, Luderitz to Alexander bay along the coast, in dunes and desert which has humidity deep in the sand with very hot & dry conditions.
The name sibthorpiifolium refers to the leaf shape of this species which resembles that of a sibthorpia plant also known as a Cornish moneywort found in Western Europe and also Greece, Crete & parts of Africa.
This plant is rare mainly because it has numerous tubers which dies away and is then difficult to find,
and is also threatened by habitat loss and mining, it can only be seen for a certain amount of time and has not cultivated that much in Europe.
In 1779 Pelargonium Sibthorpiifolium was discovered by William Paterson (a Scottish colonel, explorer & botanist) and Robert Jacob Gordon (a Dutch officer, explorer & naturalist) when they were exploring and studying areas of South Africa, but was not again discovered a long time after this period.
The leaves are kidney shaped mid to grayish green and has underground tubers,The flowers are white with pale pink and purple markings on the petals, similar to P. cortusifolium.
Pelargonium tricolor- meaning three coloured flowers.
This remarkable species with its natural three coloured petals resemble that of a pansy which grows wild in areas of the Eastern and Western Cape in Langeberg, Swartberg and the Outeniqua mountains under taller plants for shade. It grows in Zone 2 (winter rain without frost) and Zone 3 (the Karoo area-winter rain with light frost)
Pelargonium tricolor is a low growing shrub with greyish green leaves, long and ellipse in shape and unevenly toothed. Each flowing stalk contains about 2-4 flowers, the lower petals are mainly white while the upper petals usually contain three colours of white,pink and deep red.
When this plant grows in shade the flowers are usually larger and more showy, but when it grows in full sun the flowers are smaller in size.
During the late 1700s Francis Masson collected this species during his travels to Africa which was then brought back to the UK. In 1958 the hybrid cultivar “Splendide” was created from this species and crossed between Pelargonium Ovale named by the Royal Horticultural society, other names of this hybrid include P. violareum and P.violaceum.
Pelargonium grandiflorum is now flowering, it has large creamy white flowers with purple markings on the upper petals and maple shaped leaves. In its native habitat it grows in mountainous areas of the South Western province.
The young plant of Pelargonium quinquelobatum is now coming up to flower, it has greenish blue leaves and yellowish green flowers and is native to Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia. P. Tongaense is also about to flower which has red petals that attract butterflies.
P. quinquelobatum is now flowering, it has elegant white to green/yellow flowers and is native to the Eastern Cape.
Tristan da Cunha is a volcanic island 2,000 km from St Helena an Island near to the South Western Coast of Africa.
Tristan da Cunha is part of a group of Islands which include Inaccessible Island, Nightingale Island, middle Island, Stollenhoff island & Gough Island. Tristan da Cunha being the largest.
It was given the name after the Portuguese explorer Tristao da Cunha who was the first person to make a note of the islands destination after passing in stormy weather, This Island consists of mostly mountainous areas but with even ground on the North West Coast, Mary’s peak is the highest mountain which reaches up to 2,002 m high.
Tristan da Cunha has a community of 262 residents on the Island with a settlement known as Edinburgh of the Seven seas, the other Islands have no inhabitants apart from a weather Station on Gough Island.
It has a wide range of plants and wildlife especially birds, Tristan da Cunha contains 37 endemic plants including ferns,trees and grasses. Phylica arborea is a native tree that grows as dense thickets on the Island.
Pelargonium grossularioides a trailing fruit scented leaf pelargonium with purple red flowers native to a wide area of South Africa which was introduced to Tristan da Cunha and is now a native species there. P, acugnaticum is a closely related species of P. grossularioides which is very similar in appearance and may even be a form of P. grossularioides is also native to this Island.
Wildlife on the Island include Rock hopper penguins, Brown noddies, Tristan Skuas, Sooty shearwaters, great shearwaters, Grey petrels and Tristan albatross (that only breed on inaccessible & Gough islands).
In 2011 there was an oil spill on the North Western shore of the Island of Nightingale, an Island that was inhabited by northern Rock hopper penguins, these penguins were under threat and were brought to Tristan da Cunha for cleaning, they are now an endangered species & have been reducing in number by 90% from the 1950s maybe also because of pollution.
They are known for their spiky yellow and black feathers on their heads and are the smallest of the crested penguins.