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Common Name: Rose Geranium
Pelargonium graveolens is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 1.20 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
S. Africa - Western Cape and Limpopo Province.
Grows on the mountains, in sheltered positions such as kloofs, usually in relatively moist habitats[
Requires a light well-drained neutral to alkaline soil in a sunny position[
Plants are not very hardy in Britain, they generally require greenhouse protection but might succeed outdoors when grown in a very sheltered warm spot in the mildest parts of the country[
]. They can also be grown in containers that are placed outdoors in the summer and then brought into the greenhouse or conservatory for the winter[
]. The plants need to be kept fairly dry in the winter[
Very tolerant of pruning, they can be cut right down to the base in the autumn when bringing them back indoors, or in the spring to encourage lots of fresh growth[
Cultivated for its essential oil in several areas, including southern France and Spain[
], there are many named varieties[
Flowers - raw. Added to salads[
The leaves are rose-scented and are used as a flavouring in desserts, jellies, vinegars etc[
The fresh leaves are brewed into a tea[
An aromatic, rose-scented herb, the whole plant has relaxant, anti-depressant and antiseptic effects, reduces inflammation and controls bleeding[
]. All parts of the plant are astringent[
]. It is used internally in the treatment of pre-menstrual and menopausal problems, nausea, tonsillitis and poor circulation[
]. Externally, it is used to treat acne, haemorrhoids, eczema, bruises, ringworm and lice[
]. The leaves can be used fresh at any time of the year[
The essential oil from the leaves is used in aromatherapy[
] and is also applied locally to cervical cancer[
An essential oil is obtained from the plant, it has an orange-rose fragrance[
]. This plant is the main constituent of geranium oil, which is used extensively in aromatherapy, skin care and as a food flavouring[
]. The oil is also used as a substitute for the expensive attar of roses in the perfume trade[
]. The essential oil is an effective inhibitor of hydrochloric acid corrosion when coated over steel[
The leaves are used in pot-pourri[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse. Stored seed should be sown in early spring in a greenhouse. The seed germinates best with a minimum temperature of 13°c, germination usually taking place within 2 weeks though it sometimes takes some months[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. If trying them outdoors, plant them out in early summer and consider giving them extra protection during the winter.
Cuttings succeed at almost any time in the growing season but early summer is the best time in order for the new plant to become established before winter.