Pelargonium species F. Geraniaceae
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Perfumed geraniums are so very special, releasing their tantalizing fragrance, to enhance the atmosphere, delight the sense of smell, cheer the spirit and give a gentle feeling of wellbeing. The fragrance is contained in the small beads of oil, in the glands, at the base of the tiny leaf hairs.
Touching or bruising the leaves breaks the beads and the aroma is released, for us to enjoy. It is very easy to get ‘hooked’ on scented geraniums. Scented geraniums are a large species of hardy, perennial pelargoniums, distinguished by their aromas, which can be a puzzle to define, as species can hybridise. The generic name Pelargonium comes from the Greek word stork, referring to the appearance of the seed capsule. As the seed capsule matures and dries, the filaments coil into a circle and eject the seeds.
In this large grouping of plants, the leaves are decorative with a wide variation of colour and shape, some leaves being very indented and some with wavy margins. All species are covered with fine hairs, which give them a soft and velvety feel when touched. Five-petalled flowers, with typical geranium form, are from 1-4cm diameter depending on species; and colours can be from white, to pink, purple, and red. In subtropical climates some species rarely flower. Following is a brief description of some of the varieties, with plant heights only as approximates, as this can vary with climatic conditions, seasons, soils, and other variables:
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