I do not know the Latin names of many flowers and herbs, but I know that the Latin name for my rose scented geranium is pelargonium. I love the way it sounds, and I love my scented geraniums. Decades ago, I started using scented geraniums for aromatherapy and I am so glad they can be used for cooking.
The species used to create the scented geraniums are indigenous to the Western Cape. They are soft to semi-hard wooded shrubs or subshrubs with a very wide range of leaf shapes. What you see here is a multi-stemmed small shrub which grows up to 90cm, with bright green, much indented leaves that create a lacy shape. The small flowers are mid pink rouged with bright ruby on the upper petals, and are borne in terminal umbels. The seed head somewhat resembles that of a stork’s head. Some forms of scented geranium are suited to cultivation in well drained pots placed in a sunny position. I have mine planted in a garden bed, reserved for all my fynbos (fine bush). Scented Geraniums are drought resistant and can be propagated by taking cuttings of stems 10cm in length and inserting them into a sterilized mix. They need to be protected from frost and regular harvesting restricts the size of the larger specimens. They should be lightly fertilized in spring and watered thoroughly when the soil dries out.
Harvest and dry the leaves at any time and use the dried leaves of the rose or lemon varieties to make tea. Finely chop fresh leaves and infuse them in a warm liquid such as milk; strain and use the liquid for ice cream etc. Infuse red wine vinegar with rose geranium and fresh raspberries and strain after a week for use as a salad dressing. Cool your cake on top of the leaves to infuse the flavour into the cake. Line a jelly mould with the leaves before pouring your jelly into the mould.
information sourced from The Complete Book of Herbs
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