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.

Rare pelargoniums

pelis-rare

Many new Pelargonium species have only just been recently discovered, a number of these are either rare or endangered in different regions of South Africa and are not seen in cultivation. Some rarer types can be unusual in appearance and have beautiful flowers or foliage.
P. griseum was discovered in 1861, the unusual but lovely flowers have 4 petals which are pink with tints of purple, the upper petals are folded over at the top which gives it the appearance of a tube, and the flower also has long stamens . It is a low growing shrub that is slightly woody and has grey green leaves.
P. quinquelobatum is not quite so unusual as the P. griseum but the graceful flowers are different in colour than most pelargoniums that you see, which are yellowy green-blue grey in colour and the upper petals have pale pink markings, The leaves also are blue green in colour and is native to areas of Tanzania,Kenya and Ethiopia.
P. tragacanthoides is similar to the P. griseum but the attractive flowers are white in colour with deep purple markings on the upper petals which fold back to give the appearance of a cube, the feather like leaves are highly scented and are used for medicinal purposes in areas of South Africa mostly around the Eastern Cape,
P. auritum has small deep purple and white flowers that have narrow petals and stamens that look like a star in the center, it is native to South Western Cape Province.