Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Wild Geranium - Geranium maculatum   L.
Members of Geraniaceae:
Members of Geranium with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Geraniales » Family Geraniaceae
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DistributionThroughout the Mountains and Piedmont; ranges into the Coastal Plain essentially only along a few large brownwater rivers (i.e., the Roanoke and Cape Fear). Apparently absent in the Coastal Plain away from brownwater river floodplains.

This is a widespread Eastern species, from eastern Canada south to GA and LA, barely into northern FL.
AbundanceCommon in the Mountains and Piedmont; infrequent to locally common along the Roanoke and Cape Fear rivers into the Coastal Plain, but absent elsewhere in the province.
HabitatThis is a species characteristic of rich hardwood forests, though it is not normally over high pH soils, but more in Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forests, Rich Cove Forests, and in rich bottomland forests, among other moist forested types.
See also Habitat Account for Rich Wet-Mesic Hardwood Forests
PhenologyBlooms from April to June, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a very familiar spring wildflower of our moist hardwood forests, normally rather easy to find in the mountains and Piedmont. It has a few basal leaves, and the flowering stalk, usually single, grows to about 1.5-2 feet tall, usually more robust in the Mountains. There are just 2 stem leaves, opposite each other near the top of the stem, above which grow the several flowers on long stalks up to 3-4 inches long. The basal and stem leaves look similar, deeply divided into about 5-9 lobes or segments, and each with further clefts (like a German cross). The basal leaves are on long petioles but the stem leaves are nearly sessile. Each flower is very attractive, about 1.2-1.4 inches across, consisting of 5 pink (Piedmont and Coastal Plain) to rich purple-rose (mountains). There seems to be no morphological differences (i.e., no varieties) that separate these two "flower types", but in the mountains this species has clearly richer-colored flowers than those downstate.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Spotted Geranium, Wood Geranium
State RankS5
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
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