Pelargonium luteopetalum E. M. Marais

The Genus
Some History
The Sections



Further Reading
Links & resources

South African Journal of Botany 103 (2016) 145-155.
Section Hoarea


Acaulescent geophyte.

Radical, erecto-patent, pinnately compound, lamina regularly pinnate, elliptic in outline, 20-35 x 25-27 mm, pinnae obtrullate, 5-9 x 10-25 mm, irregularly incised, segments obtuse, adaxially and abaxially hirsute to densely hirsute with long stiff hairs, margins ciliate with long patent hairs. Petiole 20-90(-120) mm, covered with distally appressed stiff hairs sparsely interspersed with short glandular hairs. Stipules 10-12 mm, subulate, adnate to petioles with apices free.

Scape 60-130 mm long, branched, bearing 2-3 pseudo umbels, each with 4-10 flowers. Peduncle 40-75 mm, hirsute with a mix of appressed stiff and curly hairs intespersed with short glandular hairs, pedicel ~0.5 mm.

5, lanceolate, posterior erect, others recurved. Hypanthium 16-24 mm, 3-4.5 times as long as sepals.

Petals cream to pale yellow, patent with apices of posterior two recurved. Posterior petals with with wine-red feather-like markings, narrowly spathulate to linear, 18-18.5 x 3 mm, length-to-width ratio 6-6.2, apices rounded to emarginate. Anterior three without markings, narrowly spathulate to linear, 14-15 x 2 mm, apices rounded. 

5 fertile, posterior 1.5 mm, lateral two 2.5 mm, anterior two 4.5-5 mm.



Komsbergpas between Sutherland and Matjiesfontein is a lazy pass with fairly extraordinary succulent scrub vegetation and a substantial population of P. luteopetalum, where this species has mostly been known from. However, the top image on this webpage is from just north of Sutherland.

P. luteopetalum can be confused with P. fissifolium, as the leaves of the two species are sometimes almost identical. P. luteopetalum would seem to show a high degree of diversity of leaves on the same plant, which is less pronounced in P. fissifolium. Above: two plants from Komsbergpas, demonstrating the confusing leaf variability.

A plant south of Sutherland, at the roadside shortly after the Ouberg turnoff. The entire escarpment south of Sutherland, between Komsbergpas and Oubergpas is densely populated with P. luteopetalum. The populations just north of Matjiesfontein, thought to be P. fissifolium, are also P. luteopetalum. More fieldwork is needed to establish the true distributions of these two closely related species.

The following is a key to cream to pale yellow-flowering hoareas with stamens much shorter than sepals (Marais E. M., 2016). Plants with laminas with regular pinnae are either P. pinnatum or P. viciifolium, while the following separates P. aristatumP. fissifolium, P. flabelliforme, P. flavipetalum, P. luteopetalum, P. wuppertalense and P. xanthopetalum.

1a. Peduncle and hypanthium densely covered with short glandular hairs interspersed or sparsely interspersed with long stiff patent hairs visible to the naked eye:

     Pelargonium xanthopetalum E. M. Marais
1b. Peduncle and hypanthium densely covered with appressed curly hairs, sometimes with appressed stiff hairs, interspersed with long or short glandular hairs: 2

2a. Peduncle and hypanthium densely covered with appressed curly hairs and sometimes with appressed stiff hairs, always interspersed with short glandular hairs: 3

3a. Lamina broadly trullate in outline, length/width ratio ~1, fan-shaped:

Pelargonium flabelliforme E. M. Marais

3b. Lamina elliptic in outline, length/width ratio >1:

Pelargonium luteopetalum E. M. Marais

Hypanthium indumentum of P. luteopetalum.

2b. Peduncle and hypanthium densely covered with appressed curly hairs interspersed with long glandular hairs: 4

4a. Posterior petals unguiculate, widely obovate, 7-9 mm wide, leaves sparsely covered with short glandular hairs interspersed with appressed stiff hairs:

Pelargonium flavipetalum E. M. Marais

4b. Posterior petals spathulate, narrowly spathulate or ligulate, 2-5.5 mm wide: 5

5a. Leaves simple, tripartite to pinnatipartite, pinnae usually large and wide, seldom finely divided, without a single hair or tuft of hairs at the apices:

5b. Leaves pinnately divided to irregularly bipinnatifid, pinnae deeply incised, segments laciniate, 1-3 mm wide, ending with a single hair or tuft of hairs: 6

6a. Posterior petals ligulate, length/width ratio greater than 5:

Pelargonium aristatum (Sweet) G. Don

6b. Posterior petals spathulate, length/width ratio smaller than 5:

Marais E. M., 2016.

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ISSN 2464-014X.