Pelargonium:  Section Polyactium & Section Cortusina

By Wayne Handlos, Ph.D.

In previous issues of the newsletter we have shown the origin of the names of various species of Pelargonium.

So far we have covered the Sections Ciconium, Pelargonium and Reniformia. This month we will

cover the Section Polyactium and Section Cortusina. Several of the species included in these sections are

grown by our members and occasionally show up at the raffles and sales.

Section Polyactium

Pelargonium. anethifolium having leaves that looks like dill (Anethum graveolens)

  P. bowkeri named for the 19th Century South African soldier and naturalist, Henry Bowker, who collected 

  this species as well as many butterflies


leaf of P. bowkeri


P. caffrum � named for the locality Caffraria, i.e. South Africa  



P. gibbosum � gibbous referring to the swollen nodes on the stems of this species 


P. lobatum lobed describing the shape of the leaves

P. luridum dirty brown or smoky yellow referring to the flower color

P. multiradiatum having many rays, that is, many stalks in the inflorescence

P. pulverulentum referring to the powdery white color of the leaves

P. radulifolium having leaves that are rough or rasping 


P. schizopetalum split or deeply divided petals

P. triste sad referring to the dull flower color

Section Cortusina

P. cortusifolium � having leaves like Cortusa (in the primrose family)

P. crassicaule thick stem

P. desertorum growing in the desert

  P. echinatum � spiny referring to the sharp, persistent stipules on the stem  

P. magenteum � bright pink or magenta in reference to the color of the flowers

P. sibthorpiifolium having leaves that look like those of Sibthorpia (European moneywort in the Scrophulariaceae

      P. xythophyton - a plant of dry places.

2019, Central Coast Geranium Society (CCGS )