Geranium solanderi


Geranium: From the Greek geranos 'crane', the fruit of the plant resembling the head and beak of this bird, hence the common name cranesbill.
solanderi: Named after Daniel Carlsson Solander (19 February 1733 - 13 May 1782) who was a Swedish naturalist and an apostle of Carl Linnaeus.

Common Name(s)

Solander's geranium

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Declining

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


2012 - DP, SO


Geranium solanderi Carolin



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Herbs other than Composites


Geranium dissectum var. pilosum Hook.f.; Geranium dissectum var. australe Benth.; Geranium carolinianum var. australe (Benth.) Fosberg; Geranium dissectum f. tasmanica Gand.; Geranium drummondii Carolin


Indigneous. North, South and Chatham Islands (including many northern offshore islands). Indigenous to Australia.


Coastal to montane (0-600 m a.s.l.). Formerly widespread in short tussock grasslands, on lava fields, clay pans and on rocky coastal headlands.


Perennial herb 0.12-1.0 m tall. Rootstock 2.4-19.1 mm diam., without fusiform roots. Stem erect to ascending, with straight, patent to retrorse, non-appressed, eglandular hairs 0.4-1.8 mm long. Basal leaves in a ± deciduous rosette; lamina 12-45 × 14-57 mm, polygonal in outline, cordate, palmatifid (divided for 0.5-0.8 of its length), pilose, with ± erect, eglandular hairs; segments 5-7, obtriangular, 2.2-6.8 mm at the base; petioles to 180 mm long, with patent, eglandular hairs 0.4-1.7 mm long; stipules 2.2-8 × 0.5-2.1 mm, with eglandular hairs on abaxial surface and on the margin, glabrous adaxially. Inflorescence 2-flowered cymules, solitary; peduncles (4-)40(-61) cm long, with patent to retrorse, not appressed, eglandular hairs 0.3-2.0 mm long; bracteoles 1.5-7.4 × 0.3-0.8 mm, lanceolate, with eglandular hairs on abaxial surface and on the margin, glabrous adaxially; pedicels 8-34 mm long, with patent to retrorse, not appressed, eglandular hairs 0.2-2.0 mm long; pedicel and peduncle together usually overtopping the subtending leaf. Sepals (3.2-)4.2-5.2(-6.3) × 1.6-2.7 mm, lanceolate, with scarious margins 0.1-0.2 mm wide, with eglandular hairs 0.1 mm long on the abaxial side (and eglandular hairs 0.4-1.8 mm long on the margin), glabrous adaxially. Petals (3-)6(-8.1) × 1.4-4.2 mm, entire, without claw, glabrous on both sides, ciliate on the basal margin, purplish. Filaments 2.4-4.5 mm long, yellowish, glabrous on both sides, ciliate on the basal margin, with hairs up to 0.1-0.3 mm long; anthers 0.4-0.8 × 0.2-0.7 mm, yellowish. Nectaries glabrous. Gynoecium 2.5-4.8 mm long, yellowish. Fruit 13.1-20.6 mm long; mericarps 2.2-3.2 ×1.1-1.8 mm, smooth, with erect-patent, eglandular hairs 0.1-1.5 mm long, usually blackish; rostrum 8.8-15.1 mm long, without a narrowed apex, with erect-patent, eglandular hairs 0.1-1.1 mm long; stigmatic remains (0.6-)1-1.4(-1.6) mm long, with 5 hairy lobes. Seeds 1.6-2.2 × 0.9-1.6 mm, reticulate.

Similar Taxa

Most frequently confused with G. retrorsum DC. from which it differs by the straight, patent or curved and retrorse but never appressed rather than long hairs of the petiole and pedicel distinctively retrorse, appressed, and by the dorsal alveolae of the seed mostly 5-6- rather than 4-6-sided, and up to > 0.1 mm rather than c.0.1 mm diameter. The rootstock of G. retrorsum is often turnip-shaped, in G. solanderi the root is more like a long tapering parsnip or carrot.


September - April

Flower Colours

Violet / Purple


October - June

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed. Thrives in a sunny, well drained soil in full sun. It can become invasive but is easily controlled. A very attractive plant well worth cultivating.


Not Threatened. However , it has declined from large parts of its former range due to rabbit browsing and the spread of taller, faster growing weeds. If these factors continue it may well qualify in the not to distant future as Threatened.

Chromosome No.

2n = 52

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Seed dispersed by wind, ballistic projection and possibly attachment (Thorsen et al., 2009).


Fact Sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange 14 April 2008. Description adapted from Aedo et al. (2005) supplemented with observations based on fresh and cultivated specimens.

References and further reading

Aedo, C., O. Fiz, M. L. Alarcón, C. Navarro, and J. J. Aldasoro. 2005. Taxonomic revision of Geranium sect. Dissecta (Geraniaceae). Systematic Botany 30: 533-558.

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285-309

This page last updated on 2 Aug 2017