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P. pulverulentum is a geophyte with half-succulent leaves and an oblong tuber; in adult plants it is covered with cracked bark. The botanical description of this species says the flowers have “Petals yellow, often with dark blotches”. This somewhat broad description covers the flower variations. Indeed, I saw plants with pale yellow petals without any spots on them, and with spots from dark violet to brown flowers. Some flowers have three lower petals of a completely dark color, only bordered with yellow. All petals are almost equal in size, but the two upper petals are usually reflexed, thus appearing to be smaller than the three lower ones.

One of the plants P. pulverulentum in Kirstenbosch, Cape Town

In a species that grows in me, just this one - the three lower petals are maroon-brownish with a watercolor-blurred lemon edge, and on the top yellow ones - large dark cherry smears.

Pelargonium pulverulentum
P. pulverulentum from my collection. It corresponds exactly to the botanic description

Petals are yellow, and another color of the petals in the botanical description is not even mentioned.

I enjoy visiting Kirstenbosch (Cape Town), and especially an orangery with collection of Pelargonium species. Every time you can find something interesting there. That's where I first discovered P. pulverulentum with bright red, scarlet flowers.

P. pulverulentum in Kirstenbosch, Cape Town

As soon as I noticed this amaising plant, I immediately recall the botanical description.Then I thought this is some mistake, a pulverulentum cannot has the red flowers. Our guide stated the opposite - everything is correct, there are such clones of this species. Here, he said, is the label, a place of habitat of this plant is written here, where it came from here.... I took a couple of photos of this flowering plant and a label. I still had my doubts.

The second time I saw P. pulverulentum with scarlet flowers in the stunning gardens of Babylonstoren. This is a historic Cape Dutch farm in Paarl, South Africa. With renowned botanist and horticulturist Dr. Ernst van Jaarsveld at the helm, a magnificent succulent garden and garden of indigenous plants were created at Babylonstoren. Ernst van Jaarsveld, known and respected worldwide for his extensive research and knowledge about Southern Africa’s plants, carefully selects plants for replanting, finding them in habitat. In part of the garden for indigenous plants, I found the familiar bright red flowers and label near it.

P. pulverulentum in Babylonestoren, Paarl, South Africa. Photo made in May

P. pulverulentum in Babylonestoren, Paarl, South Africa. Photo made in December

I'm used to believing nerds. So, does P. pulverulentum with red flowers exist?

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