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Small-flowered Cranesbill

Geranium pusillum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Geraniaceae (Cranesbill)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
20 centimetres tall
Grassland, meadows, roadsides, rocky places, wasteland, woodland.

Pink, 5 petals
The petals are lilac-coloured and notched. 5 out of the 10 stamens are without anthers. Flowers are rarely larger than 1cm across. Insect-pollinated.
Hairy, 6-parted fruit. Unlike the very similar Dovesfoot Cranesbill (Geranium molle), the fruits are not ridged and hairy.
An annual flower with stalked leaves and deeply cut lobes. Each individual lobe is divided into 3 smaller lobes. The leaves are in opposite pairs and are short-haired.
Other Names:
Small Cranesbill, Small Geranium.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Geranium pusillum, also known as small cranesbill or small geranium, is a perennial herb in the family Geraniaceae. It is native to North America and is found in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, meadows, and grasslands. Small cranesbill has small, pink or purple flowers that bloom in the summer, and its leaves are divided into five or seven lobes. The plant gets its common name from the distinctive shape of its seed capsule, which resembles the bill of a crane. Small cranesbill is often grown as an ornamental plant, and it is also used in traditional medicine. It is known for its ability to tolerate dry, rocky soils and is often found growing in rocky or gravelly areas.


Small-flowered Cranesbill (Geranium pusillum) is a beautiful and hardy species of the Geranium genus that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a small perennial plant that grows up to 20 cm tall, producing delicate, light pink or white flowers in clusters on top of slender stems. The flowers have five petals, with a distinct notch in each petal, giving them a star-like appearance. The leaves are green and deeply divided, growing in a rosette form at the base of the plant.

Small-flowered Cranesbill is a popular choice for gardeners due to its attractive flowers and ease of care. It is a low maintenance plant that prefers well-drained soil and partial shade, making it a great choice for areas that are difficult to grow other plants. It can be propagated easily from seed or cuttings and can spread quickly, making it a great choice for ground cover.

In addition to its beauty, Small-flowered Cranesbill also has a number of other benefits. For example, it is a great source of nectar for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. It is also deer resistant, which makes it a great choice for gardens that are frequently visited by these animals.

One of the unique features of Small-flowered Cranesbill is its seed pods, which are shaped like a crane's bill, hence its common name. As the seeds mature, the seed pods curl and eventually split open, releasing the seeds into the surrounding soil. This helps to naturally spread the plant, making it ideal for naturalizing in gardens and meadows.

Despite its hardiness, Small-flowered Cranesbill is not immune to pests and diseases. Slugs and snails can sometimes damage the leaves, while fungal diseases such as powdery mildew can also be a problem. Regular monitoring and appropriate treatment can help to control these issues.

Small-flowered Cranesbill is a beautiful and versatile plant that is easy to care for and provides many benefits to the garden. Whether grown in a garden bed, as ground cover, or as part of a wildflower meadow, it is sure to add charm and beauty to any outdoor space.

Aside from its ornamental value, Small-flowered Cranesbill has a long history of medicinal use. Its leaves and roots have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, such as wounds, digestive problems, and skin conditions. The plant contains compounds such as tannins and geraniin, which are thought to be responsible for its medicinal properties.

In traditional medicine, Small-flowered Cranesbill was used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including burns, cuts, and insect bites. The leaves were often made into poultices and applied directly to the skin to reduce swelling and promote healing. The roots were sometimes used as a tonic to improve digestive health, and were believed to help soothe the digestive system and alleviate stomach discomfort.

In modern times, Small-flowered Cranesbill is still used for its medicinal properties, although it is primarily used in herbal supplements and skincare products. It is often used in combination with other herbs, such as chamomile, to create a more comprehensive and effective treatment.

Small-flowered Cranesbill is also a popular choice for rock gardens and alpine troughs, as its small size and delicate flowers make it a great addition to these types of gardens. It can also be used in mixed borders and woodland gardens, where it can add interest and color to the understory.

It's worth mentioning that Small-flowered Cranesbill is also drought tolerant, making it a great choice for gardeners in regions that experience periods of drought. It is able to withstand dry conditions by going dormant and conserving energy, and will often recover quickly once watering resumes.

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal uses, Small-flowered Cranesbill is also a valuable food source for wildlife. Its seeds are enjoyed by birds, while its leaves and stems provide food for a variety of insects, including butterflies and moths. This makes it an important plant for supporting biodiversity in the garden.

Small-flowered Cranesbill is also a popular choice for rock gardens and alpine troughs, as its small size and delicate flowers make it a great addition to these types of gardens. It can also be used in mixed borders and woodland gardens, where it can add interest and color to the understory.

In conclusion, Small-flowered Cranesbill is a versatile and hardy plant that offers numerous benefits to gardeners, wildlife, and the environment. Whether grown for its ornamental value, medicinal properties, or its contribution to biodiversity, it is sure to be a valuable addition to any garden.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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