Geranium molle


Geranium: From the Greek geranos 'crane', the fruit of the plant resembling the head and beak of this bird, hence the common name cranesbill.

Common Name(s)

doves foot cranesbill


Geranium molle L.



Flora Category

Vascular - Exotic

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Herbs other than Composites


Common weed of wasteland, grassland, and open places within coastal to montane forest.


Annual herb to 450 mm tall; stem usually branched from base, pilose, with long eglandular hairs 1.0-1.7 mm long and short glandular/eglandular hairs < 0.5 mm long. Basal rosette leaves persistent; lamina 9-4 x 9-52 mm, divided for 0.5-0.75 of its length, pilose, with eglandular appressed hairs; segments 7-9, usually 3(-4)-lobed at apex; lower cauline leaves alternate; petioles to 140 mm, with patent, long eglandular hairs 1.0-1.5 mm long and short glandular/eglandular hairs < 0.5 mm long; stipules 6-9 x 1.5-4.0 mm, ovate-lanceolate, sometimes lobed, abaxially eglandular pilose, glabrous adaxially. Bracts 2-3 x 1.3-1.5 mm, pilose with eglandular hairs on abaxial surface and on the margin, glabrous adaxially; peduncles 5-80 mm long, eglandular pilose (hairs 1.0-1.8 mm long) with short (< 0.5 mm) glandular/eglandular hairs; pedicels 5-15 mm, pilose, with eglandular patent hairs 1.0-1.8 mm, and short (< 0.5 mm) glandular/eglandular hairs. Sepals (1-)2.5-5.5(-6) x (0.9-)1.2-2.1(-2.5) mm, mucronulate, with scarious margins 0.1-0.2 mm wide, with eglandular hairs 1.0-1.5 mm long and some shorter (< 0.5 mm) eglandular/glandular hairs on the abaxial side, glabrous on the adaxial side. Petals (3-)4.5-8.5(-10.5) x (1.5-)2.0-5.0-(7.0) mm, emarginate (notch 1.0-2.5 mm deep), with short claw, bright purple. Stamens 10, filaments 4-5 mm, lanceolate, glabrous except for few cilia on the proximal half; anthers 0.7-1.5 x 0.3-0.5 mm, purple. Gynoecium 5-6 mm long; stigma purple. Fruit 8-14 mm long; mericarps 1.8-2.1 x 1.2-1.4 mm, transversely wrinkled, without longitudinal rib, covering the seed completely, glabrous on the surface, with a few ciliae at the base; rostrum 6-11 mm long, with a narrowed apex 1-3 mm, pilose (with erect-patent eglandular hairs ca. 0.3 mm long); stigmatic remnant c.1-2 mm long, with 5 pilose lobes. Seeds 1.4-1.8 x 1.0-1.2 mm, brownish.

Flower Colours

Violet / Purple

Year Naturalised



Temperate Eurasia E. to Himalaya, N. Africa, Macronesia

This page last updated on 25 Mar 2010