Geraniospermum odoratissimum (L.) Kuntze
Geranium odoratissimum L.
Common Name: Apple Geranium
Apple geranium is an evergreen perennial plant with a woody rootstock, growing about 20cm tall.
The plant is sometimes cultivated in tropical to subtropical areas for the essential oil that is found in its leaves and stems[
S. Africa to tropical Africa.
Shady places and under trees in forest margins in eastern and southern Cape areas[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
An easily grown plant, succeeding in a well-drained ordinary good soil[
]. Requires a light well-drained neutral to alkaline soil in a sunny position[
]. Plants are tolerant of some shade[
Very tolerant of pruning, they can be cut right down to the base in the autumn when bringing them back indoors, or in the spring to encourage lots of fresh growth[
The bruised leaves release a smell of ripe apples[
]. The plant is cultivated for its essential oil[
The leaves are crushed and used to flavour salads, soups, fruit dishes, jellies, sorbets, ice-cream, cakes etc[
]. Cake pans can be lined with the leaves and the pastry will be infused with their essence[
]. The leaves have an apple scent according to one report[
] but our plants have a very strong minty smell[
An infusion of the leaves is used as a tea[
The whole plant is an aromatic herb with astringent, tonic and antiseptic effects[
]. It is used internally in the treatment of debility, gastro-enteritis and haemorrhage[
]. Externally, it is used to treat skin complaints, injuries, neuralgia and throat infections[
The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Balancing'[
]. It is used in the treatment of burns, sores and shingles[
An essential oil is obtained from the plant[
]. It is used in aromatherapy, perfumery and as an insect repellent[
]. The growing plant will repel flies, especially if the leaves are touched occasionally to release their scent.
The leaves are dried for use in potpourri and herb pillows[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse. Stored seed should be sown in early spring in a greenhouse. The seed germinates best with a minimum temperature of 13°c, germination usually taking place within 2 weeks though it sometimes takes some months[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. If trying them outdoors, plant them out in early summer and consider giving them extra protection during the winter.
Cuttings succeed at almost any time in the growing season but early summer is the best time in order for the new plant to become established before winter.
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