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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

18 January, 2017

Long-stalked Cranesbill: at the end of their tether

Gardeners will now the cranesbills better as Geraniums, there are many cultivated forms some of which occur naturalised in the countryside now, usually near human habitation and often as a result of someone dumping garden rubbish! The long-stalked cranesbill (Geranium columbinum) is not one of these, it is a native species found across southern England, throughout much of mainland Europe and in to north Africa.
Whilst the flower is much like other wild cranesbills they occur at the end of long stalks, hence their name and hence the best way to identify them. An upright plant that can grow to as much as two feet tall, but usually much less than that, the flowers look quite delicate tethered to the end of the long stalks and one wonders how they manage to stay there with bees and flies visiting for pollen. The plant produces flowers from May until August and when they go to seed they produce they have long, pointed seed cases, just like a crane's bill! The leaves are very fragmented and could be confused with cut-leaved cranesbill and that is why the long flower stalks help to distinguish the two.
Long-stalked cranesbill can be found in bare patches on grassy areas with a distinct preference for limey soils.
Long-stalked Cranesbill: at the end of their tether