The Carolina geranium (Geranium carolinianum) is a common weed that is native to the United States and Canada. This weed is also identified as wild geranium, crane’s bill, or Carolina crane’s bill. It generally grows in woodlands, prairies, lawns and roadsides, and other areas which are low maintenance. It is a broadleaf weed that is generally a biennial in the southern and southwest states and is also a winter/summer annual in the northern states and Canada. The weed is a Florida native.
The geranium has elongated stems that grow vertically. It branches out from the base of the plant and will grow to be several inches tall. The stems are either a greenish-pink or red color and are densely hairy. The hairy leaves are broad and will have several lobes, usually five. Usually round in appearance and deeply divided, the leaves are similar to other types of broadleaf weeds. But the look of these geraniums stands out as its leaves give off the image of a crane’s bill, hence the alternative name. The geranium also has a pink flower bud with five petals that grow at the end of the stems, which is also distinctive from other geraniums and broadleaf weeds. Underground, the roots are fibrous with a shallow taproot. Geranium kidney-shaped seeds are easily spread, so it is necessary to be careful when removing it from the ground. This makes the geranium challenging to control. Pre and post-emergent weed control practices are needed to keep this weed off of lawns and flower beds.
The geranium is not just a weed but can be eaten raw or cooked. Yet this is not recommended as it is very bitter. Although it has been known to be a good medicinal plant, it is helpful for sore throats, diarrhea, or to stop bleeding. Tea can be made from the leaves as well.