What are commonly known as "Geraniums" are actually members of the genus pelargonium. The genus Geranium includes flowers commonly known as Cranesbills.  The name derives from the shape of their seeds.  Cranesbills are sometimes referred to as "Hardy Geraniums."

The major distinction between the two are the flowers- Geraniums have symmetrical flowers with 5 petals while Pelargoniums have 5 petal flowers on umbrels, and the petals come in a variety of shapes.

Martha Washington Geranium

Pelargoniums are native to South Africa and are heat resistant, but susceptible to frost.  They are grown as annuals in cooler climates.  Pelargoniums are popular garden flowers and there are thousands of cultivars that have been bred.  These cultivars are generally classified as Zonal, Ivy leaved, Regal or Scented leaf.

Scented Pelargoniums- Pelargonium graveolens are a species of Pelargonium whose foliage comes in a variety of scents. Rose, citrus, mint, coconut an nutmeg are some of the more popular varieties.  Rose scented Pelargonium are cultivated commercially for their scent. Oils are extracted from the leaves and are used in many products that have a Rose scent.


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