The first plant to reach Europe was probably brought to the Leiden botanical garden already before 1600 and was P. triste. It passed to France, and in 1631, the Englishman John Tradescant obtained a few seeds from Rene Morin in Paris. Since the plant came from a trip to the East, it was considered to originate in India. In 1672, the Dutchman Paul Hermann was probably the first botanist to collect pelargoniums in southern Africa and sent seeds to Jacob Breyne, who illustrated a few species in 1678.
The exchange of knowledge and plants between Dutch and English botanists and gardens was extremely intense, so some species were soon grown in Oxford and Chelsea.
Towards the mid-18th century, the pelargoniums also found their way to the States and Australia and became increasingly popular in California, where the climate was (and remains) favorable.
At the end of the 18th century, the political situation in southern Africa changed as the British took over the control; however, plant collecting became riskier. Maybe because of that, the interest in England turned to hybrids. They became so widespread that the original plants soon became rare. The zonal and the regal cultivars, the ivy-leaved, and the uniques became fashionable, while the species were kept as curiosities. In 1912, the German Botanist R. Knuth wrote the last taxonomic revision before van der Walt’s group in Cape Town started a huge taxonomical enterprise culminating in the publication of the first volume on pelargoniums of Southern Africa in 1977, succeeded by another two.
The common and scientific names are confused. The geraniums Jefferson planted were native to South Africa. Originally included in the genus Geranium (in the plant family named after them, Geranicaceae), the South African plants were given their own genus, Pelargonium in 1789 just three years after Jefferson introduced them to the U.S. But the common name geranium stuck.
Geraniums in the genus Geranium (about 430 species) are native worldwide, but especially in Europe. Geraniums in the genus Pelargonium (280 species) are native worldwide but are particularly numerous in South Africa and the Southern Hemisphere.
Geranium essential oil in aromatherpy
Used in aromatherapy applications, Geranium eo is known to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, sadness, fatigue, and tension, thereby enhancing the general sense of well-being and relaxation while offering relief to those suffering from insomnia. Its sweet, uplifting floral scent makes it an ideal ingredient in manufacturing soaps and cosmetics, such as creams and perfumes. Furthermore, the scent of Geranium oil is known to enhance concentration, improve cognitive function, and balance emotions and hormones. Its calming and tonic properties regulate several body systems, including the respiratory and circulatory functions. This facilitates functions such as nutrient absorption and digestion, and as a result, it improves general health.
Geranium eo combines the best with these essential oils: Angelica, Basil, Bergamot, Carrot Seed, Cedarwood, Citronella, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Lavandin, Lavender, Lemon, Lime, Neroli, Orange, and Rosemary.
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