Etymological Meaning of the Geranium Flower
The common name geranium has an interesting history. Common geraniums belong to the genus Pelargonium, while true geraniums belong to the genus geranium, which includes the crane’s bill geranium, a similar but different plant. Both belong to the family Geraniaceae. While both genera were originally classified as geraniums, in 1789 the two genus were separated. The common name geranium has continued to be used to describe both pelargoniums and geraniums. The name geranium comes from the Greek word geranos meaning crane because the seed pods of the plant resembled a crane’s bill.
Symbolism of the Geranium Flower
The symbolism of the geranium flower is most commonly associated with the type or color of the geranium. Some common symbolism includes:
- Horseshoe Geranium – Stupidity or Folly
- Ivy Geranium – Favor
- Lemon Scented Geranium – Unexpected Meeting
- Oak Leaf Geranium – True Friendship
Geraniums are sometimes considered a birth flower for the Zodiac sign of Cancer.
The Geranium Flower Facts
Most geraniums are native to southern Africa, but some species originated in Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East. They range in height from a mere 12 inches to 6 feet or more in the wild. The common geranium is actually a tender perennial grown as an annual in pots and containers across much of the United States. In northern climates, they can be overwintered inside and set outside again in the spring.
Scented geraniums release a fragrance when their leaves are touched. The most popular scented geranium is often sold as a mosquito plant, as its leaves release a lemon or citronella scent. Research doesn’t support the claims that it will repel mosquitoes, but it is an attractive and fragrant plant for summer gardens.