Author: Jan Scholten
English: Geranium family; Cranesbills.
Genera: California, Erodium, Geranium, Hypseocharis, Monsonia, Pelargonium, Sarcocaulon.
Botany: 7 genera; ± 800 species; temperate; Erodium, Geranium and Pelargonium are distinguished by the number of stamens or anthers: five for Erodium, seven for Pelargonium and ten for Geranium; fruit resembles long bird-beaks, Geranium evokes the crane, Pelargonium the stork and Erodium the heron.
Geraniacaeae is the biggest family in the Geraniales. But there are few genera.
In the updated version of the Plant theory the Geraniaceae are split in 5 Subfamilies and placed in the middle 5 Subhases of Geraniales
Herbs or low shrubs, rarely tree-like; hermaphroditic.
Leaves: alternate, lobed or compound, stipulate.
Flowers: regular, pentamerous; free petals and sepals; usually with twice as many stamens as petals, a superior 3-5-celled ovary, and usually a long beak bearing the free stigmas.
Fruit: a lobed capsule, the lobes usually 1-seeded, sometimes separating.
The key to Geranioideae subfamily:
Flowers zygomorphic with a nectar spur (hypanthium): Pelargonium.
Flowers actinomorphic; no nectar spur; 10 fertile stamens: Geranium.
Flowers actinomorphic; no nectar spur; 5 fertile & 5 infertile stamens: Erodium.
Flowers actinomorphic; no nectar spur; stamens 15; stems herbaceous without spines: Monsonia.
Flowers actinomorphic; no nectar spur; stamens 15; stems succulent, generally with spines: Sarcocaulon.