Wild geranium

  • Geranium carolinianum, G. maculatum
  • Crane's bill


Brood coverFood
Leaves are palmately lobed

Leaves are palmately lobed, spreading out like the fingers on a hand. This is G. carolinianum, which is deeply lobed.

©Ted Bodner, USDA-NRCS Plants Database



Flowers of G. maculatum are rather large and showy, with pink to purple petals, while those of G. carolinianum are considerably smaller (1/3 to 1/2 as large) and whitish to pink. Note too the difference in leaf shape compared with G. carolinianum.

Jennifer Anderson, USDA-NRCS Plants Database

Mature fruit

The common name crane's bill comes from the appearance of the mature fruit.

Erica Asai, USDA-NRCS Plants Database


Seeds of G. carolinianum (here) have a conspicuous honeycombed surface. Those of G. maculatum are also honeycombed, but less conspicuously so.

Steve Hurst, USDA-NRCS Plants Database


Leaves of Geranium species are deeply cleft and palmately lobed. Geranium maculatum is most often found in woodlands, while G. carolinianum is more likely to be found in pastures, roadsides and other open areas. Seeds are located within the sharply pointed “crane’s bill” formed by the tubelike style of the flower. The presence of G. carolinianum is a sign of recent disturbance.

Bloom period

April to June

Use by bobwhites

Wild geranium adds to plant diversity within bobwhite habitat. Because it matures and flowers in the spring and early summer, wild geranium provides seeds and attracts insects earlier than many other plants.