TOW Tuberous Pelargonium

Mary Sue Ittner
Mon, 30 Aug 2004 08:04:04 PDT
Hi all,

Yesterday I scanned some slides of some geophytic Pelargoniums we saw on 
our first trip to South Africa in 2001 and added them to the wiki. The 
first was Pelargonium echinatum. We saw this one while hiking with Rod and 
Rachel Saunders in the Gifberg. The flowers were magenta (so a contrast 
from the one I am growing from Andrew Wilson) and they were growing through 
other vegetation and Rod and Rachel were very excited to see it since it 
was an especially striking color. I noticed on Robin Parer's internet site 
that she sells a lot of different forms of this species.

I also added a picture of P. incrassatum seen in Namaqualand. My plants 
like the ones in David's picture are often stretching and leaning for more 
light whereas the one we saw in the wild where it most certainly has much 
more light was shorter and straighter.

I also added a picture of very dark flowers of P. lobatum. At least that 
was what was written on my slide and I didn't take a picture of the leaves 
to confirm so David please let me know if you think I identified this 
correctly if you can do that just from the flowers. We saw this one on the 
West Coast, if that helps, in a sandy habitat not far from the ocean.

The flowers we saw of P. echinatum looked a lot like Pelargonium magenteum 
which we saw later in the Cedarberg as we were driving to the Biedouw 
Valley. This plant is a really beautiful one that I am trying to grow. Mine 
went dormant after getting a number to grow from seed and it has been hard 
to get it going again. I am assuming that since it grows in very dry areas 
that it would be dry in summer. Does it lose its leaves in the wild too?

On both of our trips we saw P. triste in many different areas of the Cape, 
but I'm not sure we were ever very satisfied with any of the pictures we 
took of it. We don't carry a tripod and to get flowers and leaves both in 
focus is difficult. Some of the "culinary" members of this group would be 
interested to know that the roots can be chapped and used in stews and 
soups and mixed with other vegetables like potatoes and onions. Also it is 
made into a tea to treat intestinal problems. So you could make something 
using Alliums, Oxalis, and Pelargonium.…

I grow a number of the non tuberous South African Pelargoniums in my 
Mediterranean garden and they do very well with low amounts of summer 
water. If they ever get to look straggly you can take a cutting and very 
quickly have a replacement plant.

Mary Sue 

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