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.
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.
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.