from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various plants of the genus Pelargonium, native chiefly to southern Africa and widely cultivated for their rounded, often variegated leaves and showy clusters of red, pink, or white irregular flowers. An essential oil is obtained from the leaves of some species.
  • noun Any of various plants of the genus Geranium, having palmately divided leaves and pink or purplish regular flowers.
  • noun A strong to vivid red.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An impure magenta which contains phosphene.
  • noun A plant of the genus Geranium.
  • noun [capitalized] A genus of herbaceous plants (rarely undershrubs), the type of the order Geraniaceæ, distinguished by opposite lobed leaves, regular flowers, and five one-seeded carpels which separate elastically from the axis at maturity, the styles forming long tails which become revolute or spirally twisted.
  • noun A plant of the genus Pelargonium, of South Africa, of which many varieties are common in house-culture and gardens under the names of scarlet geranium, rose geranium, etc.
  • noun One of ⋅everal plants of other genera.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Bot.) A genus of plants having a beaklike torus or receptacle, around which the seed capsules are arranged, and membranous projections, or stipules, at the joints. Most of the species have showy flowers and a pungent odor. Called sometimes crane's-bill.
  • noun (Floriculture) A cultivated pelargonium.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Any flowering plant of the genus Geranium, the cranesbills, of family Geraniaceae.
  • noun The common name for flowering plants of the genus Pelargonium.
  • noun A bright red color tinted with orange, like that of a scarlet geranium.
  • adjective Of a bright red color tinted with orange, like that of a scarlet geranium.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun any of numerous plants of the family Geraniaceae


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[New Latin Geranium, genus name (under which Linnaeus included both Geranium and Pelargonium, later separated), from Latin geranium, a species of geranium (G. tuberosum), cranesbill (from the appearance of its seed capsule ), from Greek geranion, diminutive of geranos, crane; see gerə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek γέρανος (geranos, "crane"), plus the Latin suffix -ium.


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  • These things are impossible to kill. I know because I am the Garden Reaper. I am given several potted plants at every holiday which I then subject to periods of neglect, followed by periods of overwatering. Not even the hearty cactus can stand up to my ministrations. In the past year alone I've killed over half a dozen plants, including three consecutive pots of mint. The lone geranium still survives.

    July 3, 2007

  • I have had the same experience, Jennarenn. Most geraniums (which are really pelargoniums are supposed to be tender in our climate. However, they often survive the winter when I neglectfully leave them ourside.

    July 3, 2007

  • I too have a brown thumb! I've only successfully raised one potted plant in my life--a snake plant whom I named Laszlo. It was given to me upon my going off to college and survived exactly two days after my last day in grad school, through countless periods of neglect and one tragic drop from the windowsill during winter vacation.

    Good old Laszlo.

    July 3, 2007

  • May Laszlo rest in peace.

    July 3, 2007

  • Thanks, j. I have avoided house plants ever since.

    July 3, 2007

  • One of several organisms whose common name is a genus name, but not the genus they're in: usually due to the vicissitudes of reclassification or priority. So geraniums are now in genus Pelargonium, whereas genus Geranium contains the cranesbills.

    Other examples include the cineraria, the platypus (Platypus are beetles), and the lotus (in family Nelumbonaceae, very far away from Lotus amongst the legumes Fabaceae). Formerly also chrysanthemums fell here, but with some type species legerdemain the genus Chrysanthemum now once more contains garden chrysanthemums, rather than tansy as it once did.

    July 16, 2008