DescriptionPelargonium peltatum is a climbing, semi-succulent perennial, trailing through other trees and shrubs in its habitat. The climber has long, straggling shoots, which can reach a height of 2 m. This plant is characterized by its ivy-shaped leaves. Some of the leaves have distinctive zonal markings, but this is not a common characteristic. It produces clusters of flowers varying from mauve or pinkish mauve to pale pink or white. It flowers mainly in September to December.
Distribution and habitat
Pelargonium peltatum grows along coastal and succulent scrub from Bainskloof to East London.
According to Pitte Joffe (2001), larvae of the Water Bronze, Common Geranium Bronze and Dickson's Geranium Bronze butterflies feed on geraniums and pelargoniums. Carpenter bees are also frequent visitors to the plants.
Uses and Cultural aspects
The sour-tasting sap of the ivy-leaved pelargonium is used traditionally to treat sore throats. The buds and young leaves can be eaten and are thirst quenching. The leaves can be pounded and used as an antiseptic for scratches, wounds, grazes and minor burns. The petals are astringent, and can be used to make a wash for greasy skin. The petals can also be used to make a beautiful, long-lasting, grey-blue dye that can be used for painting or to dye wool or cloth.
The plants have been used extensively in horticulture and thousands are grown each year for window boxes and other applications.