Geranium molle is a small plant reaching on average 5–30 centimetres (2.0–12 in) in height. It is a very branched plant, quite hairy, with several ascending stems. The leaves are palmate, cut 5 to 9 times. The basal leaves are arranged in a rosette, the upper ones are sessile, rounded and hairy, with a long petiole of about 5–12 millimetres (0.20–0.47 in). The flowers are pinkish-purple, 8-12 mm in diameter, with very jagged petals. It blooms from April to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite and mainly pollinated by Hymenoptera. Fruits are glabrous, usually with 6-9 transverse ridges.
Distribution and habitat
It is native to the Mediterranean and sub-Mediterranean areas, but is now naturalized in other parts of Europe, in southwestern and central Asia and in North Africa. It is an introduced species also in North America, where it is known as Dovefoot Geranium or Awnless Geranium. It is a noxious weed in the Pacific Northwest and quickly forms a groundcover on open areas, among grasses, and in planting beds. Glyphosate is an effective control measure.
It is found in dry meadows, hedges, banks and waste ground. It prefers sunny places on sandy and relatively dry soils, at an altitude of 0–1,000 metres (0–3,300 ft) above sea level.
Nicholas Culpeper in his herbal of 1652 suggested a variety of uses for G. molle, including the treatment of internal and external injuries. A decoction in wine was said to relieve gout and other joint pains.
- BSBI 2007 list, Botanical Society of the British Isles, 2007, retrieved 2012-02-02
- Pojar and MacKinnon (1994), Plants of Coastal British Columbia
- Pignatti S. - Flora d'Italia – Edagricole – 1982. Vol. II, pag. 10
- Synonyms from Catalogue of life
- Culpeper, Nicholas (1652), The English physitian: or an astrologo-physical discourse of the vulgar herbs of this nation, London: Peter Cole
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