Sticky Purple Geranium

Sticky Purple Geranium Plant Information

Sticky Purple Geranium grows in the following 12 states:

Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, Oregon, California, Nevada, Washington

Geranium viscosissimum, commonly known as the sticky purple geranium, is a perennial in the Geraniaceae family of flowering plants. It is thought to be a protocarnivorous plant.

In his 1999 journal article, G.G. Spomer tested several plants in the Pacific Northwest for the carnivorous syndrome, using the digestion of proteins as the diagnostic tool to determine which plants appeared to produce protease enzymes capable of breaking down potential prey. Geranium viscosissimum displayed a capability to digest and absorb the 14C-labeled algal protein placed on the sticky trichomes that the plant possesses. However, it is not known whether the digestive enzymes were produced by the plant itself or surface microbes. Additionally, some definitions of carnivory require the plant to gain some tangible benefit in capturing and digesting prey, such as increased seed yield or growth. Such an experiment has not been done with this species.
The flowers and leaves of this species are edible, but reported to be astringent and unappealing. Blackfeet Indians used an infusion from this plant to treat diarrhea and gastric upset and urinary irritations. The root of this plant is astringent and was dried and powdered and used by Native Americans to stop external bleeding.

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