Shiny geranium (Geranium lucidum) is an annual weed used as an herbal astringent and diuretic in Europe and Asia. Here in the northwest, it grows primarily in shady forests intermixed with grasses, forbs and moss. The stems are red and the leaves are rounded, deeply lobed with a waxy appearance. You’ll see shiny geranium in late summer or early fall and by spring they are very pronounced. They have tiny pink 5-petaled flowers in April and May. The seeds are very small and are easily transmitted by boots, vehicles, tools, pets and wildlife, so be sure to brush off after working in infested areas.
Shiny geranium dominates forest understories in oak and ash woodlands, crowding out native wildflowers and perennial seedlings. The best control method is to pull them out by hand before they flower in April.
Some native plant alternatives are:
- Stream violet
- Beach strawberry
- Wood strawberry
- Wild bleeding heart
- Sea pink