Pelargonium × fragrans
Facts & Folkore:
Scented Geranium 'Nutmeg' is a small, rounded shrub with a spreading habit. It is one of the smallest scented geraniums and remains neat and compact. It eventually settles into a mounded shape with trailing flower stems. The tiny, rounded leaves are grey-green and intensely fragrant, reminiscent of true nutmeg. It has been used for flavoring jellies, vinegars and fruit dishes.
Although fragrant-leafed pelargoniums are commonly called scented geraniums, true geraniums are actually in a separate family. Pelargonium comes from the Greek, "Pelargos" meaning stork, referring to the shape of their fruit. Pelargoniums are also known as storkbills, due to their flower or fruit shapes.
The scented-leafed pelargoniums can have aromas of rose, peppermint, lemon, lime, orange, strawberry, camphor, nutmeg, spice, apricot, apple, filbert, ginger, and coconut! Plants are often categorized by enthusiasts according to the following scent groups: citrus, fruit and nut, mint, rose, and pungent.
The use of pelargoniums in potpourris, ointments and cooking became popular in Victorian times, and pots of scented pelargoniums were strategically placed in homes so that their scents would be released when brushed by the long skirts of passing ladies.
Pelargoniums arrived in the U.S. with the early colonists. With “little access to spices,” scented
pelargoniums were used by colonists as a flavoring for foods as early as 1818. Thomas Jefferson is said to have maintained a small collection at the President’s House.
Scented geraniums were also reportedly among the first houseplants “suggested as benefiting” from indoor
lighting following Edison’s invention of the electric lamp in the late 1800s
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