|Pelargonium nervifolium Jacq.
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Collectanea 4 (1791b) 198.
Deciduous geophyte 80-130 mm tall when in flower, tuber turnip-shaped or elongated.
Simple, trilobate or tifoliate, petiolate, lamina (or main pinna) ovate, base cuneate or truncate, apex rounded or obtuse, margin entire to irregularly crenate, 20-35 x 15-25 mm, small lateral pinnae ovate, 8-12 x 3-4 mm. adaxially dark green, hirsute with appressed hairs interspersed with short glandular hairs, abaxially reddish purple, veins usually very prominent, hirsute with appressed hairs interspersed with very short glandular hairs. Stipules subulate, adnate to petioles for two thirds of their length.
Scape 15-70 mm long, bearing 3-6(-9) pseudo-umbellets, each 4-13(-17)-flowered. Pedicel cca. 0.5 mm.
Credit: ©Jean-Andre Audissou, reproduced with permission of the author.
5, lanceolate, apices acute, 6-9 x 1.5-3.2 mm, patent, green [Ed. note: green to reddish brown]. Hypanthium 30-45 mm.
5, white, cream-coloured or pale yellow, claws forming a sheath and apices patent during anthesis. Posterior two with pink or wine-red blotches in the centre, spathulate, bases cuneate, apices rounded or emarginate, 16-19 x 3.2-5 mm, anterior three spathulate, bases attenuate, apices rounded or emarginate, 13-17 x 3-5 mm.
5 fertile, concealed in the floral sheath, posterior 2-3.5 mm, lateral two 4-5 mm, anterior two 6-6.5 mm long.
P. nervifolium occupies a large low-rainfall karooid vegetation zone from Loeriesfontein and Calvinia in the north to Karoo Poort in the south, and Matjiesfontein in the east, often on hillsides in low and open shrubland, usually fully exposed to the sun. The leaves are thick, almost a little succulent, and wine-red adaxially, which separates this species very well from other yellow-flowered species with short stamens (discussed on the P. luteopetalum page). Above is the roadside habitat at the Komsberg Pass turnoff on the road from Matjiesfontein to Sutherland, where P. nervifolium is quite abundant. P. rapaceum also grows here, and P. pachypodium should as well - at least this is where it's been found in the past.
Occasionally, P. nervifolium resorts to shade, as above in one of the northernmost locations just east of Loeriesfontein. This is an early species, typically flowering from September to October.
Marais E. M. (1994a).
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