Geranium maderense Geraniaceae Giant Herb-Robert, or Madeiran Cranesbill

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Description - A striking biennial plant which can reach about 1m in height, with a huge flowerhead up to 40cm in diameter, consisting of pale purple flowers with a dark centre. The leaves are large, well cut, glossy green and red, on stalks which elongate during flowering, so as to drop down beneath the flowerhead. Stems are red to dark purple.

Habitat - This plant has become increasingly common in island gardens over the last 15 years or so, and sometimes escapes onto hedgebanks, or areas where garden refuse has been dumped. It needs rather fertile soil, and is slightly tender, although survives our light frosts with little more damage than leaf-scorching.

Comment - An exotic looking plant that is a native of Madeira, and has been passed around by keen gardeners over the last decade. Once one discovers how freely it seeds and germinates one may be less enthusiastic!



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