Pelargonium graveolens is a soft, spreading shrub that grows to 1,3 m. It shares the common name of rose-scented pelargonium with P. capitatum. The strong fragrance suggests the important use of this plant in the cosmetic industry, planted for the essential oil yielded through distillation.
The hairy stems of P. graveolens become woody with age. The dark green leaves are deeply lobed and shallowly toothed, overall triangular to rounded in shape. Leaves have uneven surfaces, especially near their margins. The leaves are covered in glandular hairs; the larger veins are recessed on the upper surfaces.
Pink, magenta or white flowers appear in umbels from late winter to midsummer, mainly in spring.
Two notably discrete distributions of the species exist: one in the eastern Little Karoo from the Swartberge to Uniondale, the other in Limpopo. The habitat is moist areas of mountain kloofs, often in partial shade (Bond and Goldblatt, 1984; www.plantzafrica.com).