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Meadow Cranesbill

Geranium pratense

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Geraniaceae (Cranesbill)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
75 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, grassland, hedgerows, meadows, roadsides, sand dunes, seaside, wasteland, woodland.

Blue, 5 petals
The flowers of Meadow Cranesbill in the United Kingdom are small, delicately intricate, and arranged in loose clusters at the end of slender stems. The flower colour varies, commonly presenting shades of blue, violet, or pink. Each individual flower has five petals and is approximately 2 to 3 centimetres in diameter. The petals are deeply notched, giving the flower a distinctive and appealing appearance. Meadow Cranesbill blooms from late spring to early autumn, contributing to the vibrant and diverse wildflower displays in meadows, grasslands, and various habitats across the UK.
The fruit of Meadow Cranesbill is a distinctive seed capsule. The capsule has a beak-like projection, reminiscent of a crane's bill, from which the plant gets its name. This elongated structure contains small seeds, and when the seeds are mature, the capsule undergoes a unique mechanism to disperse them. The seed capsule explosively releases the seeds, allowing for efficient distribution in the surrounding environment. This adaptation contributes to the plant's reproductive success and its ability to colonize different habitats across the UK.
The leaves of Meadow Cranesbill are deeply lobed and palmate in shape. They are typically green in colour, though the foliage can exhibit variations, ranging from deep green to reddish-brown in the fall. The leaves are arranged alternately along the stems and often feature toothed edges, adding to the plant's overall aesthetic appeal. When crushed, the leaves may emit a mild fragrance. Meadow Cranesbill's foliage is an integral part of its bushy and clump-forming growth habit, contributing to its distinctive appearance in the diverse habitats it occupies across the UK.
Meadow Cranesbill typically has a mild, earthy scent. When the leaves are crushed, they may emit a subtle fragrance that is not overpowering. The scent is often described as fresh and herbal, adding a pleasant aspect to the overall experience of encountering this wildflower. While not known for its strong or distinctive aroma, the subtle scent of Meadow Cranesbill can contribute to the sensory appeal of natural settings where it is found in the United Kingdom.
Other Names:
Common Crane's-bill, Crowfoot, Crowfoot Crane's-bill, Meadow Geranium, Wild Geranium.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Geranium pratense, also known as meadow cranesbill or meadow geranium, is a species of flowering plant in the geranium family (Geraniaceae). It is native to Europe and is found in a variety of habitats, including meadows, grasslands, and wooded areas. The plant is known for its hairy, downy leaves and small, pink or purple flowers that bloom in the spring and summer months. It is a perennial plant, meaning it will come back year after year. It is often grown in gardens for its attractive foliage and flowers. Geranium pratense is similar in appearance to Geranium molle, but it has larger leaves and flowers and a more upright growth habit.


Meadow Cranesbill, also known as Geranium pratense, is a beautiful and versatile perennial wildflower that is native to meadows and pastures throughout Europe and Asia. With its delicate pink or blue flowers and lush, green foliage, it has long been a favorite of gardeners and nature lovers alike.

One of the most striking things about Meadow Cranesbill is its ability to adapt to a wide range of growing conditions. It can thrive in a range of soils, from light and sandy to heavy and clay-like, and is tolerant of both dry and moist conditions. This makes it an ideal choice for gardeners who want a hardy, low-maintenance plant that will thrive in a variety of settings.

In addition to its hardiness and versatility, Meadow Cranesbill is also known for its vibrant, showy blooms. The plant produces clusters of five-petaled flowers in shades of pink, blue, or violet, and these blooms are sure to brighten up any garden or meadow. The flowers are also an important source of nectar for pollinators, including bees and butterflies, making Meadow Cranesbill a valuable addition to any wildlife-friendly garden.

Another great feature of Meadow Cranesbill is its attractive foliage. The leaves are large and deeply lobed, and they have a rich, green color that provides a perfect backdrop for the plant's striking flowers. The foliage remains attractive even after the flowers have faded, making Meadow Cranesbill a valuable addition to the garden for its ornamental value alone.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that Meadow Cranesbill is also a great plant for attracting wildlife to your garden. As mentioned, it provides nectar for pollinators, but it's also a valuable food source for a variety of insects and other animals. Additionally, its leaves can provide shelter and nesting sites for small birds and other wildlife.

In conclusion, Meadow Cranesbill is a versatile, hardy, and attractive perennial wildflower that is sure to add beauty and interest to any garden. Whether you're looking for a low-maintenance plant for your garden, or you want to create a wildlife-friendly space, Meadow Cranesbill is an excellent choice.

Meadow Cranesbill is a very hardy plant that is relatively easy to care for, making it a popular choice among gardeners of all skill levels. It prefers full sun to partial shade, and it can tolerate a range of soil types, as long as they are well-drained. In order to keep the plant healthy and vigorous, it is important to water it regularly and to fertilize it every few months with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer.

One of the great things about Meadow Cranesbill is its ability to spread and fill in an area over time, making it an excellent choice for naturalizing in meadows or other areas of your garden. However, it's important to note that this plant can be invasive in some areas, so it's a good idea to keep an eye on it and remove any unwanted shoots as they appear.

If you're looking to add Meadow Cranesbill to your garden, it's a good idea to start by selecting a location that has well-drained soil and gets at least a few hours of direct sunlight each day. You can then simply plant your seeds or cuttings in the ground, and water them well until they are established.

Meadow Cranesbill is also a great choice for container gardens and rock gardens, and it can be grown in window boxes or hanging baskets. To grow it in containers, simply select a pot that is large enough to accommodate the roots of the plant, and make sure that it has adequate drainage. Then, fill the pot with high-quality potting soil, and water the plant regularly.

Aside from its ornamental value, Meadow Cranesbill also has a long history of use in traditional medicine. The leaves, stems, and roots of the plant have been used for centuries to treat a variety of health problems, including digestive issues, skin conditions, and respiratory problems.

In traditional herbal medicine, the plant was often used to make teas, infusions, and poultices that were applied to the skin or consumed to treat various ailments. It was also used in tinctures and extracts, which were taken orally to treat a range of conditions. Today, Meadow Cranesbill is still used in some traditional medicine systems, and it is gaining popularity as a natural remedy in many parts of the world.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Meadow Cranesbill also has a long history of use in cosmetics and personal care products. The plant's leaves and flowers contain a range of active compounds, including antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and vitamins, which make it a popular ingredient in many skin care products, shampoos, and other cosmetic products.

So not only is Meadow Cranesbill a beautiful addition to your garden, it also has a rich history of use in traditional medicine and cosmetics, making it a valuable and versatile plant to have on hand. If you're looking for a plant that has both ornamental and practical value, Meadow Cranesbill is definitely worth considering.

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal properties, Meadow Cranesbill is also an important food source for many species of wildlife, including butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. The plant's vibrant flowers attract a variety of insects, and its leaves provide a source of food and shelter for many species of birds and other wildlife.

If you're looking to create a wildlife-friendly garden, Meadow Cranesbill is an excellent choice. By planting this beautiful and versatile plant in your garden, you'll not only be adding color and interest to your outdoor space, but you'll also be providing food and habitat for a variety of important species.

Another great aspect of Meadow Cranesbill is its ease of propagation. The plant can be grown from seed or from cuttings, making it easy to propagate and spread throughout your garden. If you have an existing patch of Meadow Cranesbill in your garden, simply take a few cuttings in the spring or fall, and plant them in a new location to create a new clump of plants.

In addition to its ornamental, medicinal, and wildlife-friendly qualities, Meadow Cranesbill is also a long-lived plant that is easy to care for. Once established, the plant is relatively low-maintenance, requiring only occasional watering and occasional fertilization. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced gardener, Meadow Cranesbill is sure to be a valuable addition to your garden.

In conclusion, Meadow Cranesbill is a beautiful, versatile, and low-maintenance plant that is a great choice for any garden. Whether you're looking to add color and interest to your outdoor space, provide food and habitat for wildlife, or simply create a beautiful and sustainable garden, Meadow Cranesbill is definitely worth considering.

30 Fun Facts About Meadow Cranesbill

  1. Scientific Name: The Meadow Cranesbill is scientifically known as Geranium pratense.
  2. Habitat: It is a native wildflower in Europe and Asia and can be found in meadows, grasslands, and along roadsides.
  3. Blooming Period: Meadow Cranesbill typically blooms from late spring to early autumn.
  4. Flower Color: The flowers come in various shades of blue, violet, and pink.
  5. Foliage: The deeply cut, palmate leaves of Meadow Cranesbill are often lobed and toothed.
  6. Height: This perennial plant can reach heights of up to 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 cm).
  7. Attracts Pollinators: Meadow Cranesbill attracts bees, butterflies, and other pollinators with its nectar-rich flowers.
  8. Seed Dispersal: Seeds are dispersed by a unique mechanism where the seed capsule explosively ejects the seeds.
  9. Medicinal Uses: Historically, Meadow Cranesbill has been used in traditional medicine for its astringent properties.
  10. Cultural Symbolism: In folklore, the Meadow Cranesbill is sometimes associated with protection and good fortune.
  11. Hardiness: It is a hardy plant, able to thrive in various soil types and conditions.
  12. Perennial Growth: Meadow Cranesbill is a perennial, meaning it comes back year after year.
  13. Adaptability: It can tolerate both full sun and partial shade.
  14. Growth Form: The plant has a bushy and clump-forming growth habit.
  15. Wildlife Habitat: Provides habitat and food for various insects and small animals.
  16. Drought Tolerance: Meadow Cranesbill has a degree of drought tolerance once established.
  17. Garden Ornamental: Often cultivated for its aesthetic value in gardens and landscapes.
  18. Invasive Characteristics: In some regions, Meadow Cranesbill can become invasive if not properly managed.
  19. Leaf Aroma: When crushed, the leaves may emit a mild fragrance.
  20. Geranium Genus: Meadow Cranesbill belongs to the Geranium genus, which includes various other ornamental and wild species.
  21. Long-Blooming Period: The plant's extended blooming period makes it a valuable addition to gardens for continuous color.
  22. Leaf Coloration: Foliage can range from deep green to reddish-brown in the fall.
  23. Soil Preference: Prefers well-drained soils but can tolerate a range of soil types.
  24. Seedling Growth: Seedlings often exhibit a distinctive round shape as they develop.
  25. Traditional Dye: The plant has been used historically to create natural dyes.
  26. Hybrid Varieties: There are cultivated hybrid varieties of Meadow Cranesbill with unique characteristics.
  27. Wildflower Conservation: Considered an important wildflower for conservation efforts in some regions.
  28. Root System: Meadow Cranesbill develops a fibrous root system that helps prevent soil erosion.
  29. Leaf Arrangement: Leaves are arranged alternately along the stems.
  30. Garden Companions: It pairs well with other wildflowers and perennials in garden landscapes.


Video 1: Meadow Cranesbill filmed at Capernwray, Lancashire on the 17th July 2022.


Music credits
Fall of the Solar King by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

Video 2: Meadow Cranesbill filmed at Marshside in Southport, Lancashire on the 4th June 2023.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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