Pelargonium odoratissimum and jams

We all have or have ever had a pelargonium or scented geranium on our balcony, terrace, garden, gallery, patio … They are highly rustic plants, very grateful, easily reproducible and with hardly any pest or disease conditions (most of them). Today we focus on this one, the Pelargonium odoratissimum . And what about the jam? Keep reading…


Is Geranium Really A Geranium ?. Traditional names often clash with taxonomic ones. This is not a bad thing but it sometimes leads to confusion. Let’s clarify this case. Geranium and Pelargonium plant genera are genetically and morphologically very close but not close enough to be a single genus. However, they do share a family and both are from the Geraniaceae . The geraniums of any balcony are not of the genus Geranium , but of the Pelargonium . We will explain why later.

Colloquially (in Spain at least and not everywhere) this is called Common Geranium:

Pelargnoium x hortotum

And to this Pelargonium:

Pelargonium grandiflorum

And as we say, even within the colloquial nomenclatures they do not always coincide!

Now let’s go back to the genus Pelargonium and see what is interesting about this genus for… jams?


The name of the species, what does it tell us or suggest? Smell, aroma. This geranium is going to smell, a lot. To what? There are many plants that give off odors that remind us of the aromas of other plants or fruits because they share some volatile aromatic compounds. An example is limonene, a terpenic molecule present in the peel of citrus fruits that gives part of the aroma so characteristic of these fruits and that other plants may contain.

Volviendo al Pelargonium odoratissimumWe have to say that the aroma that its leaves give off when rubbed is that of apple. In fact, the colloquial name in English is apple geranium or apple pelargonium. In the case of apples, the aromatic compounds responsible for their smell are more than 300 and surely, this pelargonium shares some of them. One of the molecules responsible for the apple smell is, among many others, methyl butyrate, or methylbutyrate. Another compound used in fruity aromas, including apple aromas, is geraniol. Is everything making sense now? It is not that geraniol itself smells like apple (in fact it is more reminiscent of roses because it is very present in them), but it is part of the mixture of aromatic compounds that many fruits, including apples, give off.


You have the most savoury PELARGONIUM with MERELADAS?

Curiously, we have not discovered this pelargonium in a nursery, not even because we have been given a cutting; absolutely. In Spanish legislation on the use of various ingredients in the preparation of jams, jellies and preserves, the leaves of P elargonium odoratissimum are the only ones allowed as an ingredient in a type of quince jam, we assume that to give aroma. The text quotes like this:

«[…] The following ingredients may be added to the products defined in section 3 of this standard: […]

j) Pelargonium odoratissimum leaves: in jam, in extra jam, jelly and extra jelly, when they are obtained from quinces. “

Here the document reference to the BOE


Well, there is a lot of confusion on the web regarding the morphology of the leaf especially. The easiest thing is to look at Wikipedia but the photos have little to do if you look for it in English or Spanish. Even on the Spanish page there are big differences between the leaves, as there is a leaf from another odorous geranium ( Pelargonium graveolens ). So we have referred to the Royal Horticultural Society  (United Kingdom) and this is the image that they contribute about this lesser known geranium.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *