Medicinal plants

St. Robert’s wort (Geranium robertianum)

Do you want to know a plant that, in addition to having an important ornamental beauty, is also widely used in the world of medicine for its properties? These characteristics are brought together by Geranium robertianum, which is also called St. Robert’s Grass and is found in greater quantities in Europe, Africa and Asia.

The Geranium robertianum that means great contributions to science, but you can also cultivate it to bring a particular color to your gardens. In this article we will tell you why medicine has adopted St. Robert’s Wort and what its general characteristics are, as well as the best conditions for its cultivation and development.

Characteristics Geranium robertianum

When we talk about the Herb of St. Robert we refer to a plant that can be both annual and biennial and is within the Geraniaceae family, in which it is one of the 700 species of herbs or shrubs that develop in environments temperate, warm and subtropical.

This usually also receives other names according to the area in which it is located, being able to hear that it is named as Geranio de San Roberto, Pico de Cigüeña, Hierba de la Equinancia and Yerba de San Rupert among others.

All these names have to do with the fact that in many different places where they are developed, it is used for its medicinal properties. They did it both our ancestors and today, where its extract is usually used for different medicines.

Although it may be thought that the term comes from San Roberto, as it is usually named, this plant receives that name due to a deformation of Latin blush, which speaks directly of the red color it displays. It is common in tropical areas and is not usually a very tall plant, although it can develop well even up to 2000 meters above sea level.

The Geranium robertianum is a plant that is usually partially fleshy and has a stem that defines its total height, which can be between 10 and 55 centimeters approximately.

These stems usually show a particularity, which is their color that ranges from purple to reddish, with procumbent to ascending characteristics. Branching usually starts from the base of the roots, in addition to showing long internodes and swollen knots and a hairs of prominent length, which are sparsely arranged.

Regarding its leaves, it shows a long petiole, which has both glandular and other eglandular hairs and deflexes. These usually have a measure not exceeding 8 centimeters wide and show sharp divisions, may appear  in some cases three and five lobes other.

These appear alternately, but in the basal part these leaves are opposite. In the case of its flowers, these will be found housed in the inflorescence, in pairs on its last peduncles.

Regarding their shape, these show actinomorphic characteristics and show 5 sepals between 6 and 9 millimeters lanceolate, erect and hirsute, showing 3 well-pronounced nerves and a filament that does not exceed 2 millimeters.

These flowers show 5 petals that usually have a measure of between 5 and 12 millimeters approximately, containing a white nail and a rounded sheet with a pinkish created apex that gives an important contrast of colors.

It shows 10 fertile stamens, its pollen shows a particular orange color and its antennae are also usually seen between an orange and a reddish color. Some carpels, from which a stigma emerges that in its division forms 5 other filiforms, are part of its ovary.

Its fruits sometimes have one and two other transverse ribs in their upper part, that is, at the apex, while the lower part has them less pronounced. These are mericarps that, although they look independent, are linked with delicate fibers.

Habitat and distribution

Among the places where this plant has a greater presence are all those where the climates are warm and subtropical, being very common in the areas that meet these characteristics of Europe, Asia and Africa.

Although it is also used as a crop, it is very common to see it grow wild and spontaneously in different places that show a very humid and dark characteristic, such as roadsides, uncultivated lands and forests.

It can also find its way into ancient clay walls, or between the gaps between the stones, something that makes it very similar to other herbs, such as Umbilicus, among others.

We can see specimens of the grass of San Roberto grow at any height, as long as it does not exceed 2000 meters above sea level and although it is a plant that is in bloom for much of the year, it is during the season. of summer in which it is come to the collection for medicinal use.


As we have already mentioned, their valuable contributions make these specimens a medicinal plant and that is why not only can you find it as a wild plant that breaks through, but you can also find places where it is cultivated, to carry out the collection during the summer that gives the properties to this.

Although this can be developed in shady places, this has to do with the fact that it usually has some hint of natural lighting. This means that it is a plant that must have some exposure to the sun, or in any case to the partial shade that is formed in those environments in which it grows naturally.

As for the soils, constant humidity is one of the most important factors, although these often even develop in semi-dry soils. The substrate must be very light and drain perfectly, as do all types of sandy soils or clay soils that drain well.

Medicinal properties

To understand what makes this a plant with many medicinal uses, we must say that what is used as active parts of it are a substance called gerania, its essential oils and tannins, very important for different aspects.

The branch of medicine that usually uses preparations that have extracts of this plant is herbalism, although it is also usually used as a hemostatic, being able to stop all kinds of bleeding, among which are nasal and pulmonary.

It is usually incorporated in different ways, but it is also widely used topically, for dermitis and ulcers, as well as other skin diseases.

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