Geranium neglectum

Red-stem Cranesbill, Cranesbill

Family: Geraniaceae

A soft, herbaceous, spreading-prostrate-decumbent perennial, to about 120 cm long, sometimes rooting at the nodes; with a thick short taproot.

In NSW, it grows mostly on the tablelands and tablelands-coast divide; virtually from border to border, generally in a zone bounded to the west by Jindabyne, Canberra, Oberon, Guyra and Torrington, and to the east by Dorrigo, Gloucester, Blue Mountains, eats of Braidwood and Timbillica State Forest (south-west of Eden). It just extends into Victoria in the alpine areas. It only just extends into Queensland, to the south and east of Warwick. 

It is typically found in dry sclerophyll woodland and forest on creeklines to open swampy-shrubland and open vegetation including sphagnum bogs – at higher altitudes. 

Geranium spp. have simple leaves which can be arranged oppositely or alternately. In this species, the leaves are opposite, palmatisect with a circular / reniform (kidney-shaped – sideways in this case) lamina, to 3 cm long and 5.5 cm wide, divided into 5 to 7 lobes; with the terminal of each lobe secondarily divided into at least 5 lobes or teeth at the apex; the teeth or lobes also have a slight mucro; on a petiole to 7 cm long; light to dark green in colour, with paler undersides.

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 single, on pedicels to 10 cm long; with flowers to 30 mm wide; pink becoming white towards the base of the petals, or white, with fine purple stripes; appearing mainly in summer to autumn.

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 20 mm long, and the seeds are dark brown, with equal pits.

In the garden

Not a great deal of information is available about the cultivation potential of this species but it is known to be cultivated. It is likely not grown to a large extent. 

It is a hardy low and spreading plant for a wet area, Grows best in some shade.

It can be used as a groundcover to suppress weeds and to provide cover for small reptiles and frogs. 

Needs very little maintenance once established. It can be controlled through hand-weeding to keep it in check if needed. 



From cuttings or by division.

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.

neglectumfrom the Latin neglectus – meaning “neglected” – referring to the fact that this species was only formally recognised and published in 1965. 

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

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

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2013). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 6th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia. Page 219 for Geranium neglectum

iNaturalist – Geranium neglectum profile page https://apps.lucidcentral.org/plants_se_nsw/text/entities/geranium_neglectum.htm

By Dan Clarke and Jeff Howes.