Bicknell’s cranesbill

(Geranium bicknellii)

Conservation Status

 

No image available

 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

 

     
  Midwest

 

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

 

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Bicknell’s cranesbill is a 6 to 20 tall, erect, somewhat bushy, annual or biennial forb rises from a taproot. It is usually about 20 tall at maturity.

The stems are ascending, much forked, and covered with spreading hairs. Some of the upper branches have glandular hairs between the nodes.

The leaves are opposite, ¾ to 2½ wide, pentagon-shaped, and palmately divided into 5 deep lobes, cut almost to the base. The lobes are narrowed at their bases and are themselves deeply cut into narrow lobes along most of their length. None of the lobes are on leaflet stalks.

The inflorescence is a cluster of 2 flowers at the end of a long stalk. The individual flowers are on two shorter individual flower stalks that are more than twice the length of the sepals.

The flowers are to ½ wide with 5 petals and 5 sepals. The sepals have stiff bristles at their tips that are almost ⅛ long. The petals are pink and notched at the tip.

The fruit is a ¾ to 1 long, hairy capsule in the shape of a crane’s bill, giving this plant its common name.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

6 to 20

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Pink

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Carolina geranium (Geranium carolinianum) leaves are divided into usually 5 to 9 deeply-cut lobes. The leaf margins have widely spaced, deeply-cut teeth, that may amount to secondary lobes. The inflorescence is tight a cluster of many flowers. The flowers are on short flower stalks that are less than half as long as the sepals.

Meadow geranium (Geranium pratense) has no central stem, rather two basal leaves and a flowering stem with a single pair of opposite leaves. The leaf stalks and flower stalks are covered with sticky, glandular hairs. The inflorescence is a small cluster at the end of a long stalk. The flowers are large, 1 to 1½ wide. The flower petals are bright blue-violet and rounded, not notched, at the tips. It is an introduced species. It has been recorded only in St. Louis County.

Robert’s geranium (Geranium robertianum) leaves are divided into usually 3 to 5 leaflets. The leaflets are cut all the way to the base, with at least the terminal leaflet on an evident leaflet stalk. It has been recorded only in St. Louis County.

Siberian cranesbill (Geranium sibiricum) flowers occur singly or in pairs. It has been recorded only in Houston and Goodhue Counties.

Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum) has no central stem, rather two basal leaves and a flowering stem with a single pair of opposite leaves. The inflorescence is a flat or round topped cluster of 1 to 6 flowers at the end of a long stalk. The flowers are large, 1 to 1½ wide. The flower petals are rose-purple, pale purple, violet-purple or, rarely, white, with darker fine lines radiating from the center of the flower.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Open woods, fields. Full to partial sun.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

May to September

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

 
  2/3/2020      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Rosanae  
 

Order

Geraniales (geraniums, bridal wreaths, and allies)  
 

Family

Geraniaceae (geranium and cranesbill)  
 

Genus

Geranium  
  Subgenus Geranium  
  Section Geranium  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

 

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Geranium bicknellii var. longipes

Geranium carolinianum var. longipes

Geranium nemorale

Geranium nemorale var. bicknellii

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

Bicknell’s cranesbill

Bicknell’s crane’s-bill

northern crane’s-bill

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Glandular hairs

Hairs spread over aerial vegetation that secrete essential oils. The oils act to protect against herbivores and pathogens or, when on a flower part, attract pollinators. The hairs have a sticky or oily feel.

 

Node

The small swelling of the stem from which one or more leaves, branches, or buds originate.

 

Palmately divided

Similar to a hand. Having more than three lobes that radiate from a single point at the base of the leaf.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

       
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