Geranium graniticola

Cranesbills, Geraniums

Family: Geraniaceae

A soft, herbaceous, sprawling-prostrate-decumbent, perennial with stems to 50 cm long, finely hairy and with a thick taproot. 

It is endemic to NSW, growing mostly in a small area on the central tablelands between Oberon and Taralga. There is a second disjunct patch now recorded, SE of Walcha in Mummel Gulf National Park.

It is typically found in dry sclerophyll woodland to forest, often after disturbance, and often on rocky to granite based soils.

Stems hairy with fine hairs.

Geranium spp. have simple leaves which can be arranged oppositely or alternately. In this species, leaves are opposite each other, palmatisect with a circular to reniform (kidney-shaped – sideways in this case) lamina, to 3 cm long and 4 cm wide, divided into 5 to 7 lobes; each lobe secondarily divided into at least 3 to 5 lobes or teeth at the apex, on a petiole to 20 cm long; light to dark green in colour.

Geranium spp. have 5-merous flowers with 5 sepals and petals and with 10 stamens surrounding 1 carpel (bisexual); arranged in terminal umbels / cymose umbels or otherwise solitary or in pairs.

In this species, flowers are solitary, on pedicels to about 4 cm long, with flowers about 1 cm across, white in colour with yellow anthers; produced throughout the year. 

Geranium produce a fruit termed a mericarp (small woody nutlet) which splits open to expose the seeds. In this species, the mericarps are linear, to 15 mm long, with stiff hairs, releasing black seeds containing long reticulations.

In the garden

Cultivation information for this specie is scant as it is much rarer in occurrence compared to other species. It is likely not cultivated commonly. 

Check with native nurseries for availability. 

It grows naturally on rocky-granite-based situations and so may need similar conditions to thrive in a garden. 

May make a nice groundcover in the right situation, providing cover for small reptiles and frogs. 


From seed or cuttings.

Other information

Geranium spp. likely regenerate after fire from the root zones (taproot) as well as seed bank. 

Geranium is a genus of around 420 species of annual, biennial, and perennial herbaceous plants, commonly known as geraniums or cranesbills, found in many parts of the world from the Mediterranean to tropical mountains. Australia has 16 species (9 species endemic, 4 species naturalized) growing in all States. NSW currently has 12 native species and 3 exotic-naturalised.

Geranium from Ancient Greek geranos/yeranos (γέρανος) meaning ‘crane’ (bird). The English name ‘cranesbill’ stems from the resemblance of the fruit in some species to a crane’s head and bill. The ovary forms the head and the prolonged stigma creates the appearance of a beak.

graniticolafrom Latin meaning “granite dweller” – referring to the habitat of the species. 

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild. 

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Geranium graniticola profile page: https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Geranium~graniticola

Atlas of Living Australia – Geranium graniticola https://bie.ala.org.au/species/https://id.biodiversity.org.au/node/apni/2900930 

By Dan Clarke and Jeff Howes.