The Beautiful flowers of the pelargonium echinatum

Pelargonium echinatum

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.

Chocolate, hazelnut and Pelargonium tomentosum mousse

This creamy chocolate and minty dessert with pelargonium tomentosum leaves, hazelnuts ,Greek sheep yogurt and fruit makes a mouth watering delicious sweet dish to enjoy after your main meal in spring and summer.

Ingredients
1 packet of chocolate pudding power (7 servings)
I pot of Greek sheep yogurt or plain Greek style yogurt
4-5 leaves of pelargonium tomentosum, finely chopped
25 grams of chopped hazelnuts
3 to 4 small pears cut into small cubes
A sprinkle of cinnamon
A large drizzle of honey for each dish
Other fruits of your choice like peach, nectarine, strawberries, blueberries, prunes, watermelon or kiwifruit.

Dessert with pear and nectarines fruits

To prepare
First follow the instructions on the chocolate pudding packet, usually 48 grams of pudding power with 4-5 tablespoons of sugar and 660 ml of fresh or evaporated milk.
When you have prepared the mixture ready to add to the dessert dishes, add the chopped hazelnuts and pelargonium tomentosum leaves and mix well, then pour equally into each dish and leave to cool.
You can also choose to prepare only a few desserts and keep some back for later placing them in the fridge.  
Spoon the yogurt on top of each pudding individually, then add the chopped pear along with other fruits of your choice.
Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top of each dessert, a few chopped hazelnuts and a large drizzle of  honey .

Pelargonium oblongatum & its amazing hybrids

This charming pelargonium with its soft delicate shades of  yellow or cream coloured flowers are simple and elegant on long branching scapes, the larger upper petals have reddish purple veins and stamens that curve upwards making it easier for insects to pollinate it. The leaves are oval or rounded & toothed  as well as having a tuberous root which is partly above ground with layers of thin brown bark.
P. Oblongatum is native to the Northern cape where it grows in hot and dry areas of shrub land in the succulent Karoo, The leaves usually appear during the winter months after a rainy period at ground level while protecting the smaller succulents below, the flowers begin to bloom in October to November, but remains dormant during the Summer. The name oblong refers to long tuber of this plant which grows to a thickness of 15 cm’s, to which the whole shrub reaches a  height of about 30 cm’s, listed under the Hoarea section. This plant was first discovered by William John Burchell during his travels to South Africa, an explorer who collected thousands of specimens for the gardens of Kew.

A hybrid of this species pelargonium includes P. oblongatum x P. Fulgidum ( pictured right) which has striking pinkish red flowers with dark red veins, arranged on long flower stalks, the upper petals are much larger and rounded than the three lower petals, which are long and thin. The leaves are also smaller than that of  P. Oblongatum which have rounded teeth.

Another colour variation of Pelargonium oblongatum x fulgidum  has very pale pink flowers with dark pinkish red veins and light green sepals that are arranged on  long brownish red flower stalks ( pictured below)

It is crossed with Pelargonium fulgidum (pictured below) which has brightly coloured scarlet or pinky red flowers arranged on long flower stalks each having four to nine flowers. The leaves are oblong to cordate with very small greyish hairs that have a soft texture and three to six lobes that curve backwards. P. Fulgidum is a low growing plant which reaches a height of  about  40 to 100 cm’s and is native to the Western cape where it grows in sandy areas and hillsides usually among granite ,appearing in winter during the rainy season.  Its name fulgidum is derived from the Latin word “Fulgidus” meaning having brightly coloured flowers, to which many hybrids are descended from this plant.

Another hybrid is P. oblongatum x hystrix ( pictured below) which  has white flowers and dark reddish veins on the upper petals which fold backwards, the centre of the flower and sepals are light green with long stamens.

The hybrid is crossed with Pelargonium hystrix (below) which has white or light cream coloured flowers, with dark reddish veins on its narrow and rectangular petals. It is a low growing succulent like shrub with thick stems and continuous spikes or stipules, which is why this plant goes by the name hystrix  as it is derived from the word “hystrichos” meaning porcupine, the leaves are oval and pinnately divided.  
P. hystrix is native to the South Western cape and western parts of the Karoo. usually  growing  under larger plants or in dry areas when it is dormant during the Summer months. This plant was discovered by Francis Masson, the Scottish gardener and botanist during the 1700’s, which was brought to the gardens of Kew.

Other hybrids of Pelargonium oblongatum include:
P. oblongatum x radicatum- has about 15 or more small white flowers arranged on a long flowering stem, with reddish pink markings on the upper petals.
P. seifcifolium x oblongatum- has attractive bright purplely pink flowers with dark purple veins, the upper petals are much larger than the lower.
P. oblongatum x cucullatum- it has similar flowers to that of P. Cucullatum but they are much lighter in colour.

References-
Book -Pelargoniums Diana miller
https://www.geraniaceae-group.org/gallery/pelargonium-species-hybrids-g-z/

These Scrumptious and flavoursome scones are delicious drizzled with honey and walnuts or simply a spreading of jam, The herbs rosemary and thyme create a piney and minty flavour along with the balsam and lemony taste of the Pelargonium citronellum leaves, a lovely addition to your coffee or tea break.

Ingredients

225g (8oz) self raising flour (or plain flour with 1 tablespoon baking powder)
5ml (1tsp) baking powder
50g margarine or butter cut into small pieces
1 egg
A little milk
A pinch of salt or 1-2 tablespoons of sugar (depending on taste)
2-3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves finely chopped
2-3 sprigs of thyme, leaves taken off stalk
1-2 leaves of pelargonium citronellum
A Peel of half a lemon finely chopped or grated
Topping honey and or walnuts or jam

To prepare
Sift the self raising flour with the added baking powder into a mixing bowl, add the margarine and  rub in lightly with your fingers & thumbs above the bowl until the texture is similar to that of  fine breadcrumbs.
If you have a sweet tooth add 1-2 tablespoons of sugar  or just a pinch of salt as the drizzle of honey will act as a natural sweetener. You can also add a little olive oil if you like.
Add the finely chopped rosemary leaves and thyme as well as the finally chopped lemon peel and pelargonium citronellum leaves. Mix together in the flour mixture then make a well in the centre and add a beaten egg, stir the contents together adding a little milk until you reach the right consistency to form a soft dough.
Knead lightly to take out any visible cracks, then a light dusting of  flour to your work area and rolling pin, roll out the dough with a thickness of approximately 2 cm’s.
When the dough is rolled out carefully cutout the pieces using a 2 cm cutter or cut into triangles, add them to the baking tray lined with a baking sheet and place them in the oven for 8-10  at a temperature of 230 c (450 F mark 8)
you can also replace the egg with soya or almond milk.
After baking, cut the scone in half and add a layer of honey and or walnuts, or jam served with a refreshment such as tea or coffee.

The lovely delicate pink violet flowers of P. anethifolium & its beautiful hybrids

Pelargonium anethifolium has been greatly admired over recent years for its lovely delicate flowers which range in colour from yellow, green to pink violet with dark reddish markings that are scented at night. The leaves are feathery  with traces of red, as well as a tint visible on the petioles, also consisting of an underground tuberous root.
This plant has some similarities to pelargonium triste which may have been collected and taken to Europe during the times of exploration in the Cape possibly believing that it was the same species,  P. anethifolium was not identified as a separate species until 1835.  
The name anethifolium refers to the leaves of the dill plant Anethum gravelens, a herb and spice which is very similar to the leaves of this plant. Pelargonium  anethifolim is native to South Western areas of the Cape and grows to about 50 cm’s in height.

A hybrid of this pelargonium includes P. gibbosum x P. anethitfolium which  has various forms of flower types:
The pale pink form (right) has beautiful delicate flowers of pastel pink with a slight flush of darker pink on the petals, arranged on an long, elegant flower stalk, containing up to eleven flowers, but they carry no scent.
It is crossed with Pelargonium gibbosum known as the gouty pelargonium because of its swollen nodes on long scrambling branches. The flowers vary from a slight orangey yellow to a brownish yellow with 6-14 flowers on each flower stalk. The leaves are succulent like with a leathery texture and has sharp and irregular leaf margins or lobed.  P. gibbosum becomes more woody as it ages and grows to about  40 to 60 cm’s in height, native to the Western cape where it grows in sandy and stony areas not far from the coast.

The peachy pink flower type (left) appears to be smaller in size than the light pink, but the mixture of orange and pink colours with a dash of yellow in the centre makes this flower simply unique.  The flowers are arranged on a long flower stalk which contains up to  eleven flowers, the sepals are also fairly long compared to the flower size and the leaves are also very decorative.

Another hybrid is P. anethifolium x fulgidum which also has various flower forms:
The deep red type (right) has striking pale pink or white flowers with splashes of deep red on the petals, this form looks more like a hybrid but is a very attractive plant and the leaves are still rather similar to that of P. Anethifolium.
The white form (below) with splashes of pale pink are simple but charming with just that added  flush of bright pink upon the white delicate flowers.

This hybrid is crossed with pelargonium fulgidum which has bright scarlet or deep purplish red flowers on long flower stalks. It is a low growing shrub with scrambling foliage & succulent like stems with leaves that are either rectangular or heart shaped with finely toothed leaf margins. P. Fulgidum is native to  Western coastal areas of South Africa usually on sandy hillsides or growing within rock formations of granite.

References- pelargonium gibbosum x anethifolium https://pelargonium.janedgar.net/p-gibbosum-x-p-anethifolium/
https://www.geraniaceae-group.org/gallery/pelargonium-species-hybrids-g-z/
pelargonium anethifolium x fulgidum   https://pelargonium.janedgar.net/p-anethifolium-x-p-fulgidum/
https://www.geraniaceae-group.org/gallery/pelargonium-species-hybrids-a-f/

PELARGONIUM OF THE MONTH-PELARGONIUM CORONIFOLIUM

Pelargonium coronifolium has delicate pink, purple or white flowers consisting of two larger upper petals that bend upwards with darker botches and  three smaller petals below. The  leaves are long, narrow and oval in shape with irregular teeth along the leaf margins, grey green in colour. This plant is an upright small shrub species that is native to the Western Cape, South Africa where it grows in dry areas on sloping sandstone or on the lower mountains of the South Western Cape, it is of the Campylia section and was first mentioned by the Dutch scientist Nikolaus Joseph Van Jacquin in his third book Icones Plantarum Rariorm 1794. P coronifolium can also produce identical plants because of its underground branching, some types have narrower leaves which some believe to be a subspecies. The word coronifolium refers to the plant Cornopus (swine-cress) which is similar in appearance to this pelargonium.

PELARGONIUM OF THE MONTH-PELARGONIUM FRUTETORUM

Pelargonium Frutetorum has lovely light salmon pink flowers consisting of three large lower petals (ovate) that bend downwards and two upper petals with reddish orange markings on 10-15 mm flower stalks, containing 7 stamens. The  leaves have a circular deep purplish brown zone in the centre with five lobes and rounded. This plant is a shrubby scrambling species that  is native to the Eastern Cape, South Africa and was given its name Frutetorum because of its shrub like appearance, it is of the Ciconium section and is believed to have been first discovered by the English naturalist & artist William John Burchell during his travels to South Africa in the 1800s but this is not certain. Many hybrids have been created from this plant because of its appealing flowers, decorative leaves and its ability to grow well in the shade. P. Frutetorum shows some likeness to  P. mutlibracteatum but is more sturdy and has more a pronounced zone on the leaves

PELARGONIUM OF THE MONTH-PELARGONIUM NEPHROPHYLLUM

Pelargonium nephrophyllum has delicate pastel pink to salmon pink flowers and peachy red lines and blotches, with two larger upper petals and three smaller lower petals containing 5 stamens with orange pollen and long pink anthers, the flowers usually come up before new growth appears after being dormant in Summer.
It has unusual kidney shaded leaves with scalloped leaf margins & a turnip shaped tuber which can grow to approximately 2 cm and grows during the winter which is native to Southern Namaqualand, South Africa in sandy shrub land areas, stony reddish pink soil or in between hills.
This plant was given its name in 1992 by Elizabeth M, Marais and is of the Hoarea section also its national status is endangered.

Flower of the month- Pelargonium echinatum

IMG_20200725_095602_520

Pelargonium echinatum also known as the prickly stemmed pelargonium has lovely showy white, pink or purple flowers with darker markings on the upper petals on long flower stalks which contains around 3-8 flowers and encourages bees and other insects, The leaves are slightly hairy, greyish green and heart shaped. This plant has a tuberous root and a greyish swollen stem with a number of grey branches with thorny stipules and if cared for well can have a 20 year life span.

The name echinatum is derived from the Latin for spiny stipules which are on the stems of this plant and is native to South Africa mostly from the Northern Cape and in areas of the North of Clan William in dry rocky, stony and sandy areas. P. Echinatum is deciduous in Summer and during this time can absorb the sunlight through its stems instead of the leaves. There are a number of different flower colour types in its native habitat and also a few new species or hybrids derived from them such as “Miss Stapleton” which has purplish pink flower petals and suggested to be a cross between P. Echinatum and P. cortusifolium.
Pelargonium echinatum is said to be one of the loveliest pelargoniums to flower during the winter which also grows well in a pots or planted in the garden. It prefers sandy, loam & clay soil, PH neutral in semi shade or full sun.
This plants flowering times can vary depending on if it is grown in the wild or in cultivation, in the wild it can flower from May to November and in Cultivation from June to October.

Flower of the month- Pelargonium hirtum

p. hirtum sketch latest

Pelargonium hirtum has lovely purplish magnolia to pink flowers which attracts butterflies and bees, the leaves are finely divided and hairy with many leaflets which resembles a carrot leaf and is slightly aromatic.
It is a semi succulent shrub with fleshy upright stems which grows to about 30 cm in height with a bushy growth & the delicate flower stalks contain 3-8 flowers.
P hirtum grows well in pots and as ground cover, in rock gardens or/and on sandy soils in full sun to part shade in acid neutral type soil.
This plant is native to the Eastern Cape where it grows among stone ledges, slopes and sandy areas.

Pelargonium hirtum also known as the fine leaved pelargonium has been grown in the gardens of Europe since the late 1700s.
The name hirtum is derived from the Latin word “ hirtus” meaning shaggy, hairy or with thick growth, this refers to the hairy leaves of this plant.