Pelargonium australe

Austral Stork’s-bill

Family: Geraniaceae

Pelargonium australe is found in all Australian states in coastal dunes and further inland in semi-arid areas.

There are about 7 Australian members of the genus and Pelargonium australe is the best known and most widespread. Pelargonium and Geranium are often confused – however they do differ from each other by the shape of the flowers, with Pelargoniums having two larger petals while Geraniums have petals all of similar size.

Pelargonium australe is a recent addition to my garden in the northern Sydney suburb of Westleigh.

My plant is growing in a thin layer of light topsoil over a clay sub soil and receives little additional watering. I like this plant as it only grows to about 50 cm high and its large leaves (to 6 cm wide) make it a strong accent plant in my native garden.

The many small pink flowers (10 mm in diameter) are held on stalks above the plant.

In the garden

It is hardy in a range of soils. Pelargonium australe would also make an attractive container plant. It is well worth considering for any garden.

Propagation

Pelargonium australe strikes readily from cuttings and I have found that I always have a few self-seeded plants growing around the parent plant.

Other information

Pelargonium — from Greek pelargos, a stork, referring to the “stork-like”

shape of the fruits.

Australe — Latin for “Southern”, referring to it global distribution.

By Jeff Howes