Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mystery Geranium??

Goodness. Things here have been busy. I am (most likely) going back to Hawaii this Thursday. ...The construction schedule on that job isn't a moving deadline so much as a sprinting deadline. Every day is different story/crisis/strategy. I'll be in Hawaii for a week for work and then, hopefully, another whole week for vacation. I'm hoping to spend some time on the Big Island, to visit Volcanoes National Park, Mauna Kea and Rainbow Falls. If you have any recommendations for hotels (particularly in the Hilo area) please let me know!

In addition to an upcoming trip, I have an upcoming move and have been consistently setting up appointments with clients in the DC area. I've spent so much time on a bus between NY, NJ, DC and Philly lately, I'm beginning to feel like Ratso Rizzo (though hopefully sans the untimely end).

To wit: I've been neglecting this blog a bit and haven't been snapping many photos. It's gotten so bad that I had to consult the archives and find a photo from this time last year.

Which brings me to the Geranium species we have here, growing in the Liz Christy Garden. At first, I cavalierly applied the species name maculatum to this plant, but then wondered, could it be G. sanguineum instead? Or maybe it's G. macrorrhizum, the bigroot geranium (presumably the roots are big because it has a particularly good symbiotic relationship with mvcorrhiza the nitrogen-fixing fungus beneficial to so many plants). Suffice to say, I am stumped. Wikipedia states that there are over 400 species of this genus and I just don't feel equipped to hazard a guess. For all I know it could be cultivated so aggressively that it's no longer applied to any species (see Geranium 'Rozanne'). If you have a guess or you outright know what this plant is, please do share with us!

Now then, a bit about the genus itself. The common name for Geranium is cransebill. That's because when the flower goes to seed, it forms a tall column of seeds that will spring open when they are ready to be spread. The column itself looks like the bill of a crane. This also accounts for the plant's scientific name - geranos is an ancient Greek word for 'crane'. The perennials are generally hardy and bloom this time of year in shades of pink, blue and white. I love the foliage which has a sharp aroma when crushed.

You could be wondering, but this plant doesn't look like the annual geraniums I buy...! That's because the geraniums sold as annual plants are technically Pelargonium. They used to be classified as the same genus but have since been separated into its own genus.

No comments: