Bloody crane’s-bill

Common name:
Bloody crane's-bill
Geranium sanguineum
Crobh dearg
Flowering period:
May to September
calcareous grasslands and heaths, limestone pavement, turlough edges, sand dunes
Conservation Status:
Common throughout the Burren and parts of Co Galway. The Burren is the stronghold for this species in Ireland

Bloody crane’s-bill in full bloom throughout the Burren landscape. This highly attractive wild geranium is considered to be of Mediterranean distribution outside of Ireland and Britain.  Flowering throughout the Summer months, this spectacular plant is one of the many famed wild plants of the Burren, Co Clare.

Short description: 

Solitary, rich magenta flowers on hairy stems, with turquoise central anthers .  Leaves circular in outline, deeply lobed, bright green.


Noteworthy characteristics

Beautiful magenta flowers with rich green leaves make this a gorgeous wild plant whose beauty is further enhanced against the back drop of limestone in the Burren.  Turquoise anthers in the centre of the flower are an added delight to its overall colour. It’s green leaves turn rich red in the Autumn months.

Uses and other points of interest:

Geranium sanguineum is one of the Burren plants regarded as having a Mediterranean distribution outside of  Ireland and Britain

The specific Latin name ‘sanguineum’  means blood-red  a direct reference to the plants bright ‘blood-red’ colour ( the flower is more in tune with  shades of purple rather than red, however its bright green leaves turn vivid red during the Autumn months )

The fruit bear long persistent styles which lend themselves to the name cranesbill an allusion to the resemblance of the fruit to the elongated beak of a crane or stork. The genus name Geranium derives from Greek ‘geranos’ meaning ‘crane’.

Similar to its relative Geranium robertianum –(Herb- Robert), bloody crane’s-bill has been used in the past in Ireland for the treatment of urinary disorders in both humans and animals

Gardeners like to cultivate this plant for use in rockeries and herbaceous borders.

Personal note

This highly attractive flower is a personal favourite amongst the many beautiful wild flowers of the Burren. The plant that keeps on giving.  Bloody crane’s -bill provides colour to light up the Burren landscape from late Spring through to the Autumn when the sight of its lovely red foliage gives an added boost before the onset of winter


Abundant throughout the Burren




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