Herb: Spotted Cranesbill

Latin name: Geranium maculatum

Family: Geraniaceae (Geranium Family)

Medicinal use of Spotted Cranesbill:

The whole plant, but especially the root, is antiseptic, highly astringent, diuretic, styptic and tonic. An infusion of the whole plant, or of the roots alone, is used in the treatment of diarrhoea (especially in children and the elderly), dysentery, irritable bowel syndrome, cholera, kidney complaints, bleeding and a wide range of other ailments. It is often used in combination with other herbs. Externally, it is applied to purulent wounds, haemorrhoids, thrush, vaginal discharges and inflammations of the mouth. The plants are rich in tannin, the root containing 10 - 20%. The roots can be harvested in the autumn then dried and stored. It is best to harvest the roots as the plant comes into flower since it is then at its most active medicinally. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and are dried for later use.

Description of the plant:


60 cm
(2 feet)

to July

Habitat of the herb:

Wet places in woods, wet rocks and in swamps. Woodlands, thickets and meadows.

Other uses of Spotted Cranesbill:

A brown dye is obtained from the flowers. The roots and the leaves are rich in tannin. Plants are suitable for ground cover when spaced about 45cm apart each way.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Cultivation of Spotted Cranesbill:

Wet places in woods, wet rocks and in swamps. Woodlands, thickets and meadows.

Known hazards of Geranium maculatum:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.