Introduction to The Geranium Family & to the Genus Pelargonium For more information on the Geranium Family
The geranium family consists of several genera of plants commonly referred to as geraniums or cranesbills.
The genus for which the family is named is Geranium. These are plants primarily of temperate areas and are now frequently referred to as “hardy geraniums.”
The genus which most of our members grow is called Pelargonium. These plants are primarily from Southern Africa – many are from the Mediterranean climate area of South Africa. This makes them at home in southern California where we also enjoy a Mediterranean climate. Erodium is another genus in the geranium family. A couple of species are grown in gardens and are available commercially. Two or three species of Erodium are common weeds in the fields of California. Monsonia is yet another genus in the geranium family. This genus is rare in cultivation and in southern Africa species are commonly viewed as weeds. Sarcocaulon (sometimes included in the genus Monsonia) are succulent species in the geranium family. They are found in the deserts of southern Africa. These plants have become popular among the cactus and succulent growers.
An important genus in the Geranium Family (Geraniaceae) because is it grown so widely is called Pelargonium. Pelargoniums are still called "geraniums" by most gardeners and nurseries. Pelargonium includes an amazing variety of plant cultivars, many important elements in a colorful garden and/or landscape. Plants which share distinctive characteristics are divided into groups in the genus Pelargonium:Zonals Ivies
and, finally, Species and Species Hybrids