Sticky Purple Geranium
Geranium viscosissimum Fisch. & C.A. Mey. ex C.A. Mey.
Family: Geraniaceae, Geranium
Genus: Geranium
Other names: Sticky Geranium
Nomenclature: viscosissimum = most sticky
Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant
Edible plant
Medicinal plant

General: perennial, 40-90 cm tall, the lower part of the stems and leaf stalks spreading- to flat-stiff-hairy, often glandular-long-hairy above, especially among the flowers.

Leaves: mainly basal, long-stalked, the blades 5-12 cm broad, spreading- to flat-stiff-hairy, glandular, palmately cut more than 3/4 their length into 5-7 obovate, sharply toothed divisions. Stem leaves few, opposite or alternate.

Flowers: two to several in open clusters, often 2-forked, well above the leaves. The 5 sepals 8-12 mm long, the spine at tips about 2 mm long. The 5 petals 14-20 mm long, rounded to slightly notched, pinkish-lavender to purplish, seldom white, softly long-hairy at base for about 1/4 of the length. The 10 filaments joined at the base, softly long-hairy on the edges, all anther-bearing. May-July.

Fruits: capsules, glandular-stiff-hairy, with the stylar column 3-5 cm long, the beak including the 4-5 mm stigmas 10-14 mm long, splitting lengthwise from the base into 5 slender, recoiling segments.


Drier grasslands and forests, sometimes in moist meadows, plains-montane zone, in w. and c. parts of MT. Also from B.C. to n. CA, e. of the Cascades, e. to Sask., s. to w. SD, CO, UT and NV.
Edible Uses

The flowers of sticky purple geranium are edible, and can be added to salads or used as a garnish. The leaves are edible raw or cooked, but are not choice.

Medicinal Uses

The whole plant is astringent, salve and has agents that check bleeding by contracting blood vessels. Herbalists have used geranium roots to stop bleeding and to treat sores and chapped lips. It was used medicinally by the Blackfoot Indians among others. An infusion of the leaves, plus a sweat bath with the leaves, has been used as a treatment for colds, and as a gargle in the treatment of sore throats. An infusion of the leaves or the roots has been used as a wash for sore eyes. A poultice of the leaves or roots has been applied to cuts, sores etc.

Sub taxa:

var. nervosum (Rydb.) C.L. Hitchc.:
Lower leaf stalks and stems hairless, flat- to spreading stiff- or short-soft-hairy, not glandular, with the var. viscosissimum throughout most of its range, but a little more southern, reaching CO, UT, and n. CA.

var. viscosissimum F. & M.:
Lower leaf stalks and stems stiff-hairy and also glandular-short-hairy, rather uniformly glandular-long-hairy above. From B.C. southward to n. CA and n. NV, e. to Sask. and n. WY.

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