What’s Green Now? Wild Stonecrop

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Sedum ternatum; Crassulaceae

This very low-growing plant is actually a succulent (meaning it has fleshy leaves), a trait that’s found in plants (like cacti) growing in arid conditions. Succulent plants are not too common in the humid environment of the mid-Atlantic states.  And because the plant engages in Crassula Acid Metabolism (CAM), it’s quite drought resistant.

I’ve found two patches of wild stonecrop in the Great Falls – Carderock area; one of those patches is at the base of a tree, in deep shade, on a rocky slope that’s cleft by a seasonal streamlet.  I guess that while there’s water nearby, the area the stonecrop is growing in probably has very shallow and somewhat dry soil.  Talk about micro-habitats!

Wild stonecrop should start blooming around here in early May; here’s what it will look like:20140505-DSC_0060:

 

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