Photo Courtesy of Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service, http://www.bugwood.org/
Geranium caespitosum James var. fremontii (Torr. ex Gray) Dorn
Scientific Name Synonyms:
Geranium fremontii Torr. ex Gray
Life Span: Perennial
Growth Characteristics: A flowering forb, growing 4 to 36 inches tall. Stems are stout, forked, and hairy. Reproduces by seed. It blooms from May to September.
Flowers/Inflorescence: Usually a deep rose-purple, with five petals.
Fruits/Seeds:Each seed is tipped with an elongated tail, which coils spirally at maturity. The tail assists the pointed seed in penetrating the soil.
Leaves: Palmately lobed, petioles of basal and lower leaves are hairy, but not sticky. Leaves give off a distinctive odor when crushed.
Fremont geranium is common on foothills, in subalpine meadows, and ponderosa pine forests, between 6500 and 11,500 feet.
Soils: Usually grows in rich soils.
Associated Species: Sagebrush, rabbitbrush, tall larkspur, lupine, brome grasses.
Uses and Management:
Fremont geranium provides good forage in the Southwest, especially for sheep, and can decrease under heavy grazing. Cattle grazing may cause it to increase. Deer graze both the flowers and leaves.