Meadowmat Wildflower Species: Meadow Cranesbill
Meadow cranesbill (Geranium pratense)
Meadow cranesbill (geranium pratense) is a beautiful, purple-blue wildflower that is commonly seen in meadows, along roadsides and hedgerows, and particularly in areas where soil is chalky and well drained. It is a perennial, native species within the British Isles and Europe and typically flowers between June and August each year.
A member of the geranium family, it grows up to around 75 cm and features five large petals, which taper to points at the tips. Each petal is threaded with pale veins and around the prominent white stigma in the centre are ten stamen, which consist of pale purple filaments and dark purple anther. The flower heads measure 3 – 4 cm across and the seed pods look a little like birds’ bills, hence the common name for them.
Meadow cranesbill grows in clumps, forming small bushes that are covered in divided leaves and dotted with flowers. The leaves splay out like a rosette, at around 5 – 6 cm in diameter, and have five to seven lobes: they are tapered, short-stalked and large toothed.
According to folklore, meadow cranesbill was the flower to turn to if you wanted to cure or treat cholera, dysentery, diarrhoea, haemorrhoids and nosebleeds.
Using Meadow Cranesbill to support wildlife
The RHS Perfect for Pollinators list includes meadow cranesbill because it is so attractive to bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects. The list has been created to help anyone who has some outdoor space at their disposal (whether that is a large garden or a window box) to grow plants and flowers that will encourage pollinators to visit. This is becoming increasingly important in Britain and across the world as the global bee population is in serious decline and this has wide implications for the ecosystem. The Perfect for Pollinators list contains the names of the plants and flowers that are most attractive to bees and insects. Meadow cranesbill is particularly attractive to all sorts of bees.
Of course, when insects are attracted to a garden, birds will follow, so planting a wildflower garden can also increase the number and variety of birds that will visit.
Meadowmat has sourced and pre-planted numerous types of wildflowers that feature on the list (including meadow cranesbill) to create their wildflower rolls, which can be planted in any garden as long as the ground is not flooded or frozen. They are easy to grow and require minimal maintenance, and are a simple way to make a garden beautiful and also to encourage pollinating insects to visit. Those insects will benefit the entire garden and Meadowmats feature a wide variety of wildflowers to maximise the amount of colour in your garden and time throughout the year when the flowers will bloom.