pelargonium, noun

Forms:
Also with initial capital.
Origin:
Modern Latin, GreekShow more Modern Latin (L’Heritier 1787), from Greek pelargos stork (see quotation 1952).
Any of several species of the large indigenous genus Pelargonium of the Geraniaceae, having brightly coloured flowers with narrow elongated petals, and fragrant leaves which are either serrated at the edges or ivy-shaped, often with horseshoe-shaped darker markings; often called geranium.
Note:
Now cultivated worldwide.
[1819 PantologiaPelargonium, Crane-bill, in botany.]
[1835 Encycl. Brit. XI. 686Pelargoniums are of easy culture, propagating readily by cuttings.]
[1861 Times (U.K.) 23 MayThe azaleas, pelargoniums, and other spring flowers being in particularly good condition.]
1906 B. Stoneman Plants & their Ways 27Some plants of this family (sc. the carrot family) continue their growth under ground year after year, the part above ground dying down every year. This is also the habit of many Pelargoniums (‘Geraniums’).
1952 F.M. Leighton in Jrnl of Botanical Soc. of S. Afr. XXXVIII. 8Pelargonium — a South African Contribution to World Gardens. As defined by Linnaeus..it (sc. ‘Geranium’) comprised three distinct genera,..Geranium or Crane’s Bill, Pelargonium or Stork’s Bill and Erodium or Heron’s Bill. These names are descriptive of the shape of the fruit...Pelargonium, though largely South African in origin, extends to Madagascar and up the east coast of Africa to Arabia and western India. There are species in Australia and on Tristan da Cunha. From the South African species have arisen all the manifold varieties of Pelargonium and so-called ‘Ivy-leafed and Zonal Geraniums’ of horticulture.
1965 S. Eliovson S. Afr. Wild Flowers for GardenMost of the 230 species of Pelargonium are found in South Africa and many of them were used as the parents of the numerous named garden hybrids which are now cultivated all over the world.
1976 U. Van der Spuy Wild Flowers of S. Afr. for Garden 119There are more than two hundred species of pelargonium growing wild in different parts of South Africa...Most gardeners refer to them as geraniums, which are quite different although belonging to the same family. In the true geranium the five petals are of equal size and arranged in a regular fashion making a cup-shaped..flower, whereas in the pelargonium the petals are of unequal sizes and they are arranged in an irregular way.
[1989 H.P. Toffoli in Style Dec. 57Many of our exotic species appear in foreign botanical gardens and hothouses. I even found myself falling over them in the Jardin Botanique at Menton, all with their universally despised country of origin dutifully noted: ‘Pelargonium, Afrique du Sud.’]
1993 Grocott’s Mail 6 Aug. 10Pelargonium Peltatum, Ivy Leafed Pelargonium.
Any of several species of the large indigenous genus Pelargonium of the Geraniaceae, having brightly coloured flowers with narrow elongated petals, and fragrant leaves which are either serrated at the edges or ivy-shaped, often with horseshoe-shaped darker markings; often called geranium.
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18191993