April 13, 2010

The Butterfly Pelargonium

Pelargonium papilionaceum

This rare Pelargonium ( Greenhouse Geranium ) also known as the 'Butterfly Pelargonium is a hard t o find, yet easy to grow Plant in a highly collectable and growable genus, Pelargonium. These South African plants can be divided generally into three types, those which are summer dormant, those which are winter dormant, and those which grow year round. Pelargoniums are perhaps the most familiar of house and window box plants ( think - the common red geranium and swiss balcony geraniums), and one can see the similarities when you zoom in close to the blossoms on many species, but this one is particularly nice.

It is a new addition to my collection, and the first time it has bloomed for me. Available from Geraniaceae.com, this plant hasn't turned out to look anything like it's original description, since the flowers are smaller than I imagined ( it was described as having large butterfly-like blossoms with two large petals. Up close, I get it, from a foot away? They are the size of a fingernail, or a small, pantry moth. Still, the entire inflorescence is lovely, and it stands out in the greenhouse.). In the wild, in it's native environment, this is a Pelargonium which does not like full sun, but prefers shady, stream banks called Kloofs.

I expect this Pelargonium to perform well all summer in a container out doors, perhaps planted with other species forms. At first glance, it looks like one of the peppermint scented Pelargoniums ( geranium), with large 4 inch fuszzy leaves, and a branching habit. Described as having a fragrance, or as being scented, the one aspect they left out of the description is that the scent is exactly that of a musty sponge left in the kitchen sink. I hereby rename this, the Moldy Scrunge® Scented Geranium ( or the Panty Moth Pelargonium). Still, very pretty, isn't it?

1 comment :

  1. Awesome. Flower looks like butterfly, indeed!


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