Glory's Garden

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Real and fake Geraniums

Last time I told you about my little piece of a garden or fake geranium which I surprisingly rooted in a pot on a windowsill. Now I must explain why I insist on calling it a fake geranium. How in the world of gardening can a growing and flowering plant be fake? Well, I'll tell ya!

Fake Geranium but a real Pelargonium



As happens with many things, people, and places in life, flowers and plants get nicknames. These are the common names people use to describe the plant, in many cases because they don't know its proper name.  These common names usually have little to do with their real or botanical names, but sometimes they are one and the same. Take Rose for instance. I've never heard it called anything other than Rose and its botanical name is Rosa...hardly a difference there.

In the case of  Geraniums it's a little different. You see, the fake or garden geranium has a real botanical name, Pelargonium. No, Pelargonium isn't very pretty as names go nor is it easily pronounced-- and it's not especially great for spelling-challenged people like me! Took me ten tries to get it right, but I did find a nice website with a picture of a polygonium. That's a Japanese knotweed, in case you were curious. But I digress...sorry.
Japanese Knotweed AKA Polygonum...no relation whatsoever to Geraniums, neither real nor fake
Pelagonium, of course, has the common name of ~sigh~ Garden Geranium. Why-oh-why, people would call a Pelagonium  a Garden Geranium, I couldn't tell you. You must have figured out by now that there is a real geranium. Well,  oddly enough, it also has a common name ~another sigh~ Crane's Bill or Cranesbill depending on how you wish to spell it. Now you understand the confusion. The real Geranium is commonly called a Cranesbill and the Pelargonium is called the Garden Geranium.
The real Geranium AKA Cranesbill

I suppose at this point you're saying to yourself, "Well, she's being rather picky! What difference does it make what you call it?" and you'd be right, but that is the way with us dyed-in-the-wool, true-blue, gotta-get-the-name-right-or-die-trying gardeners. We need you to know when there is an imposter about...especially when they sneak into your garden under a false name!

A Geranium by any other name could be a Pelargonium or a Cranesbill and if not for the picky likes of me, you wouldn't know which is which! Is it a real Geranium or the fake one? Ask Glory... she knows!

2 comments:

  1. Glory, now I know where the old saying comes from "hey, you got a geranium in your cranium"?
    "Crane's Bill" doesn't rhyme with cranium, like "geranium" does.
    Crane's Bill doesn't even look like a geranium.
    Pelargonium doesn't rhyme with 'cranium' either, so no wonder we just smartly call them all "geraniums", they rhyme with our craniums!
    Now I am totally enlightened. Send me cookies as a reward. I know the Latin name for Geraniums is Pelargonium, and it ain't a fake name either! Thanks, Glory! That's why YOU'RE the gardening zeitgeist! ":) pssst.. Don't forget the cookies!

    ReplyDelete
  2. **HINT** Where do I send the cookies? Ah, yes, an address would be good! **End hint**

    ReplyDelete

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