On a hazy September morning I took the kayak out onto the river at Old Angler’s Inn; the point was to enjoy the paddling and not hunt for wildflowers, for a change. But when finished and heading back to the truck, I decided to do something I’ve been wanting to do for, oh, about 35 years, and put the kayak into the canal, and from there paddled upstream to Widewater. (There are several places on the C&O called that, but this is the one opposite the Billy Goat A trail, just downstream from Great Falls.)
Once there, I had a lovely time exploring the rock formations on the far side, and the little islets in the middle of the lake. And wouldn’t you know it, something caught my eye. From a distance it looked a lot like the masses of white Eupatoriums that were flowering, except shorter and pinker. So I rowed over and thought “huh, a sedum.” I gingerly unwrapped the iPhone and took a few quick snapshots.
It’s possibly a garden escapee – a cultivar of Hylotelephium telephium, perhaps. But from what I could see in the pictures, I believe it to be our native Allegheny stonecrop, Hylotelephium telephioides.
The Allegheny stonecrop is found scattered across the east coast from Georgia to New York and across the upper Midwest (and also Louisiana). As you can see, it’s a sun-loving and rock-loving plant, with light green, succulent foliage and masses of pink to white flowers. It’s threatened in Indiana and Kentucky, endangered in New York, and rare in Pennsylvania.
The several species in the genus Hylotelephium were once placed in the genus Sedum, by the way.
I spent way too many minutes trying to translate Hylotelephium. The root hylo means “of the woods”. I could find nothing about telephium other than it’s an ancient Greek name for a plant. The root oides means “resembling”. So I suppose this species name could be translated as “Telephium of the woods that looks like Telephium”. I really wish I’d studied Latin in school.