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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Rose-scented Pelargonium (Pelargonium capitatum)

Family Geraniaceae
Pelargonium capitatum is a shrubby or bushy, low-growing plant. It grows to a height of ± 0.3 m and about 1.5 m wide. The sprawling or erect stems of the plant are soft-wooded. Individual side branches can grow to a length of 0.6 m. The stems and leaves are sweetly scented when bruised, and are covered with long, soft hairs of variable density. The flowers are pink. P. capitatum flowers from September to October.

 This pelargonium is cultivated for its rose scented oil.
 Distribution and Habitat

The rose-scented pelargonium occurs from Lamberts Bay, all along the coast, through the Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal . Its grows well on sand dunes or low hillsides near the coast. Pelargonium capitatum is commonly found growing in disturbed areas.

 Uses and cultural aspects

The rose-scented p elargonium is cultivated for its oil of geranium. The sweetly scented leaves are a wonderful skin softener. The leaves can be rubbed into the hands to soothe calluses and scratches, into heels to soften horny, cracked skin and can be tied to a piece of muslin and used in the bath as a skin and wash treatment which also soothes rashes. A tea made from leaves was an old remedy used by people from the Cape to treat kidney and bladder ailments, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and flatulence.