Geranium maculatum (wild or spotted geranium)

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Painting by Lara Call Gastinger

Artist’s Statement:

I was attracted to this plant due to its proliferation in my yard and because I am greatly attracted to its “cranesbill” like seed pods that are so pointy and unfurl so elegantly to reveal little pockets holding the seeds. I painted the Geranium dissectum with the Geranium maculatum due to their similarities between their fruits, leaves and flowers.

Medicinal uses:

The root of Geranium maculatum is rich in tannin (10-20%) and therefore highly astringent. All parts of the plant are antiseptic. Historically, this plant was employed as a styptic to stop bleeding as well as in the treatment for diarrhea, piles (hemorrhoids), inflammation of mucous membranes, kidney and stomach ailments. (Grieve;

“The Domestic Physician and Family Assistant” , a 1836 home care handbook, describes the root as “rough and dark brown,” and goes on to say that “when boiled in milk, proves efficacious in cholera infantum, that kind of diarrhoea to which young children are subject.” also in (Gardner, p.41)