Geranium maculatum, Cranesbill

Geranium maculatum-Cranesbill

Family: Geraniaceae

Other Names: American Cranesbill, Spotted Cranesbill

Habitat: Wet places in woods, wet rocks and in swamps. Woodlands, thickets and meadows. North America.

Description of Cranesbill:

Geranium maculatum is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Apr to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

Geranium maculatum, CranesbillCultivation of Cranesbill:

Succeeds in any moderately fertile retentive soil in a sunny position. Tolerates a wide range of soil types, including water-logged soils. Plants are hardy to about -25°c. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits.

Propagation of Cranesbill:

Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Collection: The root in the autumn.

Culinary uses of Cranesbill:

None known.

Geranium_maculatum_botanicalMedicinal uses of Cranesbill:

Actions: Astringent, anti-haemorrhagic, anti-inflammatory, vulnerary.

Part Used: The rhizome.


American Cranesbill is an effective astringent used in diarrhoea, dysentery and haemorrhoids. When bleeding accompanies duodenal or gastric ulceration, this remedy is used in combination with other relevant herbs. Where blood is lost in the feces, this herb will help, though careful diagnosis is vital. It may be used where excessive blood loss during menstruation (menorrhagia) or a uterine hemorrhage (metrorrhagia) occur. As a douche it can be used in leucorrhoea.

Preparations & Dosage of Cranesbill:

Decoction: put 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the rhizome in a cup of cold water and bring to boiling. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.

Tincture: take 2-4 ml of the tincture three times a day.

Other uses:

Dye,  Miscellany,  Tannin.

A brown dye is obtained from the flowers of Cranesbill. The roots and the leaves are rich in tannin. Plants are suitable for ground cover when spaced about 45cm apart each way.

Esoteric uses of Cranesbill:

None known but if you use it please let us know!

The Chemistry:

Constituents: Tannins including gallic acid, with the level being highest just before flowering.