Somewhat Strange & unusual pelargoniums

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 antidysentericum

p. antidysentericum web small

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 antidysentericum

p.praemorsum for web

P. antidysentericum is an usual plant that in its native habitat looses its leaves during the Summer months and then after flowering in Autumn produces new growth, although in cultivation this may not occur. The name antidysentericum is derived from the medicinal word antidysenteric meaning to relieve or to prevent dysentery, It has a very large tuber partly underground which grows to about 1m with short branches and rounded toothed leaves. The flowers are pinkish purple to white in colour with darker markings on the petals.
The P. praemorsum is similar to P. antidysentericum but doesn’t have a tuber and has more showy cream to pink or purple flowers and deeper veins which has the appearance of a butterfly.
The name praemorsum means “bitten off” because of the unsharp edges around the leaflets which are rounded and wedge shaped. It grows to about 30cm in height and was first grown in Europe in the 1800s by seed which was originally collected by Mr Quarrell for the Colvills nursery