Wild Geraniums Bloom for Weeks

Wild Geraniums are one of my favorite forest plants. The light purple flowers appear in May or late April. Rains at this time of year will beat down existing blossoms or make them drop some petals, but other flower buds will open to replace them.

The wild geranium blooms for a couple of weeks or longer with the largest and oldest plant blooming the longest. Flower buds open in succession so that some will be spent and developing their beak-like seedpods before others are in complete bloom. Photos taken 16 and 26 May 2014.

Wild geranium bloom surrounded by flower buds that have yet to open.
Wild geranium bloom surrounded by flower buds that have yet to open.
Wild geranium flower on the left is just opening and the flower on the right has been fertilized and has lost its anthers.
Wild geranium flower on the left is just opening and the flower on the right has been fertilized and has lost its anthers. The pistil is swelling at the base as it starts to form the seed pod.

In our area of the Appalachian Mountains in South Central Pennsylvania we saw wild geraniums blooming for 4 weeks from the middle of May to the middle of June. Most years I would start looking for them to flower in the beginning of May.

Large plants may bloom for a couple of weeks, while plants in different locations will bloom at slightly different times. For instance, the wild geraniums on a south-facing slope may bloom a week earlier than a similar-sized plant on a north-facing slope.

Wild geranium blooming next to a country road.
Wild geranium blooming next to a country road.

The foliage is quite noticeable. I mean, it’s pretty easy to identify. Look for the palmate leaves in clumps near forest openings, along roads near wooded lots, and surely along hiking trails in Eastern North America.

Wild Geranium will be seen along roads, but probably only when it's in bloom.
Wild Geranium will be seen along roads, but probably only when it’s in bloom.
Flowers are held high over the palmate foliage of Wild Geranium.
Flowers are held high over the palmate foliage of Wild Geranium.

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