|Pelargonium quercifolium (L.f.) L'Hérit.|
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Ait. Hort. Kew. ed. 1, 2 (1789) 422, excl. var. a.
Erect, much branched and strongly aromatic shrub, up to 1.75 m tall. Stems herbaceous when young but soon becoming woody, villous and with long glandular hairs densely interspersed, green but becoming brownish with age.
Hard to the touch, scabrous, strigose with a few soft hairs and with long glandular hairs densely interspersed. Lamina cordiform to triangular in outline, 3-palmatisect to pinnatisect, with the segments irregularly pinnatifid to pinnatisect, apices of segments acute to obtuse, margins irregularly dentate-serrate, (10-)20(-80) x (12-)25(-70) mm, petiole (7-)15(-30) mm long, indumentum as on stems but with sharp, appressed stiff hairs in between, stipules triangular to cordiform.
Pseudo-umbel with 2-6 flowers, borne on a flowering branch with normal and smaller foliar leaves. Peduncles 20-80 mm long, distinctly articulated at distal and proximal ends in fruiting stage, villous and with long glandular hairs densely interspersed. Pedicel 1-2 mm long.
Five, lanceolate, apiculate, indumentum abaxially as on hypanthium, green to reddish-brown with white margins, ~10 mm long. Hypanthium 6-11 mm long.
Pale pink to pinkish-purple, posterior two spathulate, apices obtuse to emarginate, with dark purple markings, reflexed at <90 deg, 18-25 x 5-8 mm. Anterior three spathulate with long narrow claws, slightly reflexed, ~20 x 4-6 mm.
7 fertile, 4 long, 1 medium, 2 short.
Top of the ridge of the Baviaanskloofberge in the Eastern Cape, looking south. P. quercifolium is found on mountain tops as a component of fynbos, and experiences temperature extremes both in the summer and in the winter. This is an interesting area to explore, on the border between summer and winter rainfall regions, besides, the valley has almost typical Eastern Cape vegetation with large euphorbias and aloes - while the slopes are stratified into vegetation layers. P. gracillimum can be found on the lower slopes in good numbers, while P. sidoides is frequent on the grassy upper slopes.
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