Carolina Geranium - Wild Geranium
Geranium maculatum - Linnaeus
Geraniaceae (Geranium) Family

Carolina Geranium is a winter annual from a small taproot with a rosette of stems, procumbent to ascending, much branched and forming large-clumps, all densely hairy. Its preferred habitat is lawns, waste places and idle fields. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region. The plant may also be known as Wild Geranium, Stork's-bill or Cranesbill.

The leaves are palmately cleft into 5 to 9 finger-like lobes; 1.1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. Placement along the stem is generally alternate basally and opposite upwards; round to oval in outline, and hairy on both surfaces.

The flowers are terminal compact clusters (cymes) of two to several on each stem or branch. Petals number five and are whitish pink to pale purple. The tip of each petal is notched; five hairy sepals with pointed tips. Each flower is subtended by a whorl of small leaves. Flowers occur in the spring and into early summer.

Fruit is a tubular capsule. The seeds are consumed by the Northern Bobwhite and Mourning Dove, and by songbirds and small mammal species

Carolina geranium is a common open-field plant and is a preferred winter forage of White-tailed Deer in the Southeast, averaging about 20 percent crude protein in the vegetative state.

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