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The Identification of the Genus Pelargonium

by Cliff Blackman  


Also by Cliff Blackman  "An Ode from a Peeved Pelargonium."

Further information:  The Geranium Family        Introduction to the Geranium Family & Pelargoniums


The case for using the correct specifications that do identify Geranium and

Pelargonium cultivars universally.  There are a number of clubs and commercial plant

producers out of step with the correct family naming of the herbaceous plants they are

growing, showing or producing. This is a practice that should be changed by those who

want to be up to date and correct in the botanical and nomenclatural sense.

When is a geranium not a geranium? Fundamentally it is when it cannot be classified

to meet the specifications to be in Genus Geranium. This is the essential requirement.

The same is required for other Genera that are grouped in Family Geraniaceae.

Are you using the correct family name for the plants you are growing or marketing?


Two definitions for Geraniaceae have been found.

A. Geraniaceae is a family of geraniums. This definition is misleading.

B. Geraniaceae is a family of herbaceous plants. A definition that is preferable as this allows

for the many genera within this family to be classified with specific characteristics to enable

each genera to be identified and separated.


Geraniaceae is composed of a number of Genera. The 3 main genera that are being grown

by Geranium and Pelargonium Club members are Genus Geranium, Genus Pelargonium and

Genus Erodium - each of these Genera have specific characteristics to be included into their

individual genus.


Another problem is: All articles of reference to Pelargoniums as �Geraniums� need to be

updated or not used as this is very misleading information, particularly for anyone being

introduced to the world of Pelargoniums that are incorrectly called Geraniums. This

contradiction is very damaging to any intention of getting in step with the correct identification

used by most of the world�s pelargonium growers.


Think about it and please discuss with friends who grow or show these plants

Cliff Blackman

A case for correcting and protecting the Pelargonium family identity