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