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Common Name: Apple Geranium
Pelargonium odoratissimum is a Evergreen Perennial up to 0.20 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
Shady places and under trees in forest margins in eastern and southern Cape areas[
An easily grown plant, succeeding in a well-drained ordinary good soil[
]. Requires a light well-drained neutral to alkaline soil in a sunny position[
]. Plants are tolerant of some shade[
Plants are not very cold-hardy in Britain, tolerating temperatures down to about -3°c[
]. 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[
]. When grown in pots, the plants require regular repotting in order to stay vigorous[
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[
The bruised leaves release a smell of ripe apples[
]. The plant is cultivated for its essential oil[
The leaves are crushed and used to flavour salads, soups, fruit dishes, jellies, sorbets, ice-cream, cakes etc[
]. Cake pans can be lined with the leaves and the pastry will be infused with their essence[
]. The leaves have an apple scent according to one report[
] but our plants have a very strong minty smell[
An infusion of the leaves is used as a tea[
The whole plant is an aromatic herb with astringent, tonic and antiseptic effects[
]. It is used internally in the treatment of debility, gastro-enteritis and haemorrhage[
]. Externally, it is used to treat skin complaints, injuries, neuralgia and throat infections[
The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Balancing'[
]. It is used in the treatment of burns, sores and shingles[
An essential oil is obtained from the plant[
]. It is used in aromatherapy, perfumery and as an insect repellent[
]. The growing plant will repel flies, especially if the leaves are touched occasionally to release their scent.
The leaves are dried for use in pot-pourri and herb pillows[
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.