ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Herbs of Tenerife: Canary Island Geranium and the British Herb Robert

Updated on October 9, 2013

Canary Island Geranium grows in forests

Canary Island Geranium (Geranium canariense) is pretty plant that grows in the evergreen laurel forests or "laurisilva" in Tenerife, La Gomera and Gran Canaria, although it is rather rare in the last of these. It is a medicinal herb as well as being an attractive wild flower.

Canary Island Geranium is a close relation of the common European herb known as Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum), and looks like a much larger version of its smaller but more widely distributed cousin. It is quite remarkable to see how similar the two plants are but the Canary Islands endemic species is so much bigger.

Canary Island Geranium (Geranium canariense)
Canary Island Geranium (Geranium canariense)

Canary Island Geranium described

Canary Island Geranium has attractive pink flowers and divided leaves. It grows from a fleshy root-stock and is found along paths and in clearings in the woodlands of the Canary Islands it is a native of.

It is a very attractive wild flower and one of the many species that add their colour and charm to the forests of Tenerife and the Canary Islands.

In Spanish it is known as "Pata de Gallo". Canary Island Geranium has a number of medicinal properties that have seen the plant used in folk medicine of the islands.

It is astringent and antiseptic, and an infusion or decoction of the roots and leaves can be taken as a remedy for gastritis and diarrhoea. A herbal tea made from the plant makes a good mouthwash and can be used to gargle with as a treatment for tonsillitis, as well as a remedy for mouth infections such as gingivitis, ulcers and mouth sores.

Powdered leaves of Canary Island Geranium can be applied directly to minor wounds and cuts and will help stop bleeding. Mixed with olive oil the herb is used to treat piles and can also be made into suppositories.

A weak infusion of the plant has diuretic properties, will reduce blood sugar levels and is said to lower blood pressure so this makes it a very useful herb for practitioners of herbal medicine..

Herb Robert

Herb Robert is a far more widely distributed plant and is common in the UK, Europe, North Africa, North America and parts of Asia. It also grows in the Canary Islands where it is used in herbal medicine too and is known as "Hierba de San Roberto".

It can grow in shaded areas and in woodlands but also in drier places including waste ground and along stony paths. It has flowers and leaves that are like smaller versions of those of the Canary Island Geranium and its stems tend to be reddish in colouring, especially if it has been growing in strong sunlight and exposed conditions.

Herb Robert gives off an unpleasant smell when lightly bruised. It actually smells as if it would have antiseptic properties and it does. It is a smell you wouldn't be likely to forget although you might well want to because most people don't like it. Herb Robert is another medicinal herb and has the same uses as its much larger relative.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Tenerife Islander profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Andrews 

      7 years ago from Tenerife

      Good point, Londonlady! And indeed the Canary Islands have lost most of their forests too! Eventually it brings desertification but try telling that to those who control things!

    • Londonlady profile image

      Laura Writes 

      7 years ago

      That is a pretty plant! It's a shame they are so rare. It seems as though all the useful plants that can potentially be used to cure something are being stripped away as we cut down our forests. Great hub! Voted UP :)

    • Tenerife Islander profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Andrews 

      7 years ago from Tenerife

      I didn't know I was in the Top 200! That is fantastic news so thanks for letting me know!

    • AEvans profile image


      7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      Wow! The Canary Island Geranium has many wonderful uses and by the way you are also in the top 200 for 2010, just thought you may like to know. Keep writing! :)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)