Flower of the Day: Wild Stonecrop

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aka woodland stonecrop
Sedum ternatum
Crassulaceae

 

 

 

I’ve written about this plant before, but it’s a favorite and blooming now.  Wild stonecrop is native to Eastern US woodlands.  It likes to sprawl across rocks where there is a little bit of soil or leaf mould, and stands no more than eight inches tall.

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The inflorescence typically has about a dozen flowers on three branches.

This flower is about 1/4 inch across, and consists of four green sepals, four white petals, eight stamens with purplish anthers, and four pistils.

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You can get a sense of scale from this picture (note the fallen leaf at the lower right).

 

 

 

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This particular stand is under a tree alongside a very small stream near the base of a large rock formation.  The sun was just starting to peek over the rocks as I was taking these pictures.

 

I spent an hour there, in that one location.  Felt like 15 minutes.
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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: