The P. graveolens species, native to southern Africa, was introduced to England in 1774 and has long been used to produce geranium oil. At least eight species of sweet-scented geraniums were introduced to America from southern Africa between 1770 and 1820. Rose, nutmeg, and oak-leaf geraniums were among the earliest imports. Jean Skipwith of Prestwould in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, listed “rose geranium” among her houseplants in papers that have been dated between 1785 and 1805. This geranium lends a lovely rose scent to potpourri and the edible leaves can be used in jams, jellies, cakes, puddings and more.
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