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Statewide IPM Program, University of California

Cutleaf geranium  (Geranium dissectum)

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Life stages of Cutleaf geranium seedlings seeds flowering and fruiting stem leaves plant

Cutleaf geranium is a freely branching annual or biennial broadleaf plant. Except for deserts and the Great Basin it is found throughout California to about 3900 feet (1200 m). Cutleaf geranium inhabits agricultural land and other disturbed locations. It remains prostrate in turf. Although widespread, it is generally a minor weed.


Roadsides, fields, pastures, orchards, vineyards, landscaped areas, turf, disturbed open woodlands, shrublands, occasionally crop fields, other plant communities, and disturbed, unmanaged sites.


Cotyledons (seed leaves) are slightly asymmetrical with a slightly lobed base and truncate, indented tips. They are about 1/5 to 1/3 of an inch (0.5–0.8 cm) long and about 1/5 to 1/2 of an inch (0.6–1.2 cm) wide. Cotyledons and their stalks are hairy, and often the hairs are glandular. Leaves are roundish in outline, lobed, and are alternate to one another along the stem. The first leaf blade is about as long as it is wide, with lobes that often have rounded tips with an abrupt, minute point. Second and later leaves look like the first, but each primary lobe has a smaller lobe on each side. Lobe tips are somewhat rounded and often have a minute point at the tip.

Young plant

Until the flower stem develops in the spring, the plant exists as a rosette with long-stalked leaves.

Mature plant

Stems grow prostrate to erect, are about 2-1/2 feet (0.8 m) long (or tall), and are hairy and rough. Stem leaves are deeply cut into narrow divisions while rosette leaves are palm shaped and deeply lobed with long stalks.


Flowers bloom from March through October. Flowers have five, violet pink petals that are rounded or have a notched tip. Flower stalks are less than 1/10 to 2/5 of an inch (2–10 mm) in length. Flower stem hairs are glandular. Usually there are two flowers per cluster.


Immature fruit consist of five sections of the ovary fused together plus five elongated structures above the ovary that form a column. The entire unit looks like a stork's head and beak. At maturity each seed-bearing unit (carpel) detaches from the base of the beak and rolls to its tip, exposing one to two seeds.


Seeds are brown, strongly pitted, and nearly round.


Reproduces by seed.

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