Pelargonium domesticum Bailey
Martha Washington Geranium
Plant Characteristics: Perennial, erect, soft-hairy forking plants, stems not succulent, with long spreading soft hairs; lvs. broadly cordate-ovate to almost reniform, sometimes truncate at base, 2-4 in. across, more or less obscurely angled, margins with many unequal sharp teeth; stipules scarious, cordate-ovate, .25-.375 in. long; fls. large and very showy, sometimes 2 in. across or more, few or several in an umbel terminating long or short peduncles, the pedicel various beneath the spur; sepals lanceolate to oblong, soft-hairy, about .5 in. long; corolla white to pink, wine-red, and crimson, the 2 upper broad petals 1.25-1.50 in. long with brilliant blotches or darker color.
Habitat: Escape from cultivation. Ideal outside growing area is coastal but will do well inland except for hot, dry areas such as the interior valleys or areas with hard freezes. Sunset Editors, New Western Garden Book 1984. p. 400. Blooms spring and summer.
Name: Greek, Pelargo-nium, stork’s bill, from the fruit. (Bailey 597). Greek, domesticus, belonging to a household. (Jaeger 84). Domesticus, domesticated plant. (Bailey 14).
General: Rare in the study area with only one group of plants known, this on the bluff below Eastbluff North. The plants do not receive irrigation water from above but may have lateral roots that get water seeping into the ground from irrigation in Eastbluff. (my comments). Cultigen; apparently descended from several South African species. (Bailey 598). More than 230 perennial herbs and sub-shrubs, mostly from South Africa, a number much grown for ornament and yielding the “geraniums” of florists. (Bailey 597). Hickman, Ed. lists Pelargonium x domesticum. and states that it is of complex hybrid origin, incompletely known. (Hickman, Ed. 674).
Text Ref: Bailey 598; Hickman, Ed. 674.
Photo Ref: April 04 #21A,22A,23A.
Identity: by R. De Ruff, confirmed by John Johnson.
First Found: April 2004.
Computer Ref: Plant Data 547.
Have plant specimen.
Last edit. 8/16/04.