The species of this section are distinguished from one another mainly by the morphology of their leaves. The mature leaves of Pelargonium schizopetalum are oblong-ovate, with a cordate base, the lamina deeply incised almost to the midrib and the margins are unevenly crenate. P. amatymbicum, in the past regarded as a subspecies and even a synonym of P. schizopetalum (Vorster pers. comm.), differs in having cordate to elongately cordate leaves which are lobed only to half the distance between the margin and midrib. The leaves of P. caffrum are digitately or pinnately dissected into linear segments, and those of P. bowkeri are obviously pinnately compound with fine linear segments. This species is a geophyte, possessing a tuber which is often branched. The flowers are pale yellow or yellow-green with red or purple stripes. These colours, as well as the presence of a long, nectar-filled, tubular hypanthium, the unpleasant scent which is noticeably stronger at night and the personal observation that the flowers tend to open most widely at night, indicate that this species is probably pollinated by a nocturnal hovering moth, such as a hawk moth. However, no pollination studies have yet been carried out in the field. The anthers mature and dehisce approximately three to four days before the stigmas. This protandry ensures the transfer of pollen from one flower to another, and prevents pollen transfer within one flower. The flowers in the observed specimen did not mature synchronously within an inflorescence, and it is therefore possible that pollination within a plant can take place. Upon maturity, the fruit dehisces into individual mericarps. Each is provided with a long, spiralled awn from which hairs or bristles protrude. This structure is light and fluffy when dry, and is wind-dispersed.
Geophyte, with short, often branching tuber. Leaves deciduous, glandular, pinnately incised with crenate margin, somewhat fleshy, 50-160 x 30-110 mm, with thick abaxially channelled or flattened petioles; stipules lanceolate, fused to base of petioles. Scape unbranched, up to 0.5 m tall, covered in coarse hairs, terminating in inflorescence. Inflorescence a 5-20-flowered pseudo-umbel. Pedicel 8-20 mm long. Hypanthium 60-75 mm long. Sepals 5, green, convex, reflexing in mature flowers. Petals 5, equal or almost so, each fimbriately divided, yellow to yellow-green to purple, with red or purple stripes, 2 posterior petals sometimes paler than 3 anterior petals. Stamens 10, basally fused, forming a tube, 7 of these bearing anthers; anthers purple on outside, introrse, shedding brilliant orange pollen at maturity. Pistil consisting of 5-lobed stigma, short style (up to 8 mm long) and 5-merous ovary. Fruit a schizocarp, consisting of 5 mericarps, approximately 45 mm long, each with 1 seed.
It was growing amongst rocks in short grassland, on the north-facing slopes. In this area, and judging from the number of specimens in the National Herbarium in Pretoria, it is an occasional to rare species.
According to Vorster (pers. comm.), it is limited to the area from Port Elizabeth northwards to the Suurberg and westwards to the eastern end of the Outeniqua Mountains.