Geranium pratense L., Sp. Pl. 681 1753. (Syn: Geranium acknerianum Schur; Geranium alpinum Kit. ex Kanitz [Illegitimate]; Geranium batrachioides Bubani; Geranium caeruleum Gilib. [Invalid]; Geranium coelestinum Schur; Geranium kemulariae Kharadze; Geranium mariae Sennen; Geranium napellifolium Schur; Geranium neapolitanum Nyman; Geranium pratense var. affine (Ledeb.) C.C. Huang & L.R. Xu …………; Geranium valde-pilosum Schur ex Nyman);
jer-AY-nee-um — from the Greek geranos, crane; referring to the beak-like fruit … Dave’s Botanary
pray-TEN-see or pray-TEN-say — referring to a meadow … Dave’s Botanary
commonly known as: meadow crane’s bill, meadow geranium • Lahauli: porlo • Spiti: likatur
Native to: Europe, c Asia, n-w Himalaya; naturalized, cultivated elsewhere
Fwd: Fw: Geranium pratense in UK and Geranium clarkei in the Himalaya : 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (4)
Further to my scrutiny of Geranium, I consider it will be helpful to post a few images of Geranium pratense in the UK.
These were taken, in haste, as I was attempting to cover as much ground as possible that day recording EVERY species of flowering plant along a section of canal within the Langley TETRAD (a 2km x 2km square) towards the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) 2020 Atlas.
A great deal of concentration and energy is required when surveying – it is mentally (and physically tiring). As I knew which species this plant and was thinking primarily only of securing a few good images for selecting the best for inclusion in future lectures I give on ‘Wild Flowers of Britain’, there seemed little point spending time photographing its foliage (or stipule) as such features are not of interest to audiences.
I felt the time was better spent searching amongst the vegetation (which included quite a number of grasses and sedges which are not easy to tell apart).
G.pratense or ‘Meadow Cranesbill’ as it is known, is found in meadows and at roadsides in the UK; widespread but rather local. Also understood to occur in Europe from Scandinavia (Finland) to North Spain, N.Appenines; N & C Asia to Japan and it was thought, Western Himalaya. Naturalised in N.America.
Stewart considered G.pratense to be the commonest of the large, purple-flowered, high-level species in N. Pakistan, Kashmir & Ladakh @ 2400-4200m.
However, the studies of Peter Yeo (University of Cambridge Botanic Garden) on what he called the Geranium collinum-pratense-himalayense alliance (complex) have improved our understanding of geraniums in the Himalaya. Though the situation remains complicated and further FRESH botanical collections are required for Indian herbaria, as too much reliance is placed on 19th and early 20th Century collections made by Britishers and other Europeans.
Members of this group can help by photographing the geraniums they come across (especially those with larger flowers found at medium to high elevations – following the guide-lines I have posted).
The more examples we get to see that are photographed well, the better our understanding can be. Quality close- up digital images can reveal additional images not seen on dried, pressed specimens – especially as there are seldom good accompanying field notes to specimens in Indian herbaria such as colours of floral parts (which are liable to alter when dried). Such notes may be more or less non-existent for both 19th Century and modern-day pressed specimens, putting herbarium taxonomists at a disadvantage.
Yeo published Geranium clarkei in his book ‘Hardy Geraniums’ (1985).
Unfortunately, I have not seen the description, however, it seems (based upon the determination slips on the herbarium specimen collected by Clarke (in Kashmir in 1876) at Kew which Yeo designated as a ‘type’ specimen) that he considered this species was previously known by him as Geranium pratense ‘Kashmir Form’.
I am presuming this equates to Geranium pratense L. subspecies stewartianum Y.Nasir subsp. nov? Hopefully, this is made clear in Yeo’s book.
IF any member of this group has a copy, would they kindly send me a copy of the description of G.clarkei?
I am a genuinely impoverished financially so cannot justify the expense of buying a copy myself (in my present circumstances), so IF, by chance, anyone had a copy they do not use, I would be pleased to receive it in the post. As wish to check what the late Yeo had to say about other Himalayan species. I corresponded with him about Geraniums in Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.
Some of you may be wondering who Clarke was? Charles Baron Clarke (1832-1906) of the Indian Education Service was a collaborator of Hooker on FBI (Flora of British India). He collected pressed specimens widely in India, especially Kashmir and Baltistan (now Pakistan territory) in 1876 & 1879. His main sets of specimens at Kew and Calcutta herbaria.
Other plants were named in his honour, such as Primula clarkei and Nepeta clarkei.
Fwd: Geranium ‘pratense’ in Nepal : 1 post by 1 author.
Until I get to see a copy of Yeo’s book on Hardy Geraniums I remain unsure about what he decided as to what was previously thought to be the occurrence of Geranium pratense L. in Nepal.
In the mean-time, I think it will be helpful to further the understanding of this genus to share his thoughts about this species contained in the ‘Enumeration of the Flowering Plants of Nepal’ Vol II published in 1979.
There were records of this species from West & Central (but not East Nepal) from 2200-3500m with specimens collected by Stainton, Sykes & Williams (1954) and Polunin, Sykes & Williams (1952) these were expeditions organised jointly by the Natural History Museum in London and Royal Horticultural Society (Sir Gorge Taylor being the driving force).
Yeo felt that the forms of G.pratense occurring in Nepal differed in foliage from those of Europe: the leaves are smaller and more pubescent, with the divisions, lobes and teeth shorter and broader, while sometimes the upper surface is marbled with paler green. Plants of this species from southern Siberia tend to be intermediate in these characters.
So did Yeo subsequently decide that the true G.pratense L. was not present in Nepal?
Please note that Yeo was the author of the account of Geranium within this Enumeration.
He provided a key to Geranium species in Nepal, which I have only just looked at. I shall comment further about G.lambertii in another post.
However, Yeo already recognised Geranium himalayense, separating it from G.pratense in a lengthy description but I shall not include this until I know his more up-to-date thinking nomenclaturally otherwise it may confuse things further.