Pelargonium sidoides – Umckaloabo (plant)
Pelargonium sidoides or Umckaloabo is an South African Geranium species. Also called Rose Geranium for the pleasant smell of the leaves. For hundreds of years the Zulu, Basuto, Xhosa and Mfengi cultures have used Pelargonium sidoides root as a curative for coughs, upper respiratory tract irritations and gastrointestinal concerns.
Pelargonium sidoides forms a rosette-like plant with crowded leaves. It is very similar to some forms of P. reniforme, but is easily distinguished by its blackish, rather than pink petals. The long-stalked leaves are mildly aromatic, heart-shaped and velvety. The distinctive dark, reddish-purple (almost black) flowers are present almost throughout the year, but occur mostly from late spring to summer (October – January) with a peak in midsummer (December). The genus name Pelargonium is derived from the Greek word Pelargos which means stork. This refers to the rostrum of the schizocarp (seed capsule) which resembles the bill of a stork. The species name sidoides reflects the resemblance of the foliage to that of a European plant, Sida rhombifolia Info from Plantz Africa.
Care and Cultivation of Pelargonium sidoides
Pelargonium sidoides likes full sun with good drainage. Water less in winter than in summer. Fertilise moderately over the growing season.