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Tasteless Stonecrop

Sedum sexangulare

  • Name also: Watch-chain Sedum, Six-sided Stonecrop, Insipid Stonecrop
  • Family: Stonecrop Family – Crassulaceae
  • Growing form: Perennial herb. Loosely tufted.
  • Height: 3–8 cm (1.2–3.2 in.). Stem ascending–limp.
  • Flower: Corolla regular (actinomorphic), bright yellow, approx. 1–1.5 cm (0.4–0.6 in.) wide; petals five, 4–5 mm (0.16–0.2 in.) long. Sepals 5. Stamens 10. Gynoecium with separate leaves, pistils 5. Inflorescence a 1–3-flowered cyme.
  • Leaves: Alternate, in clear rows especially on flowerless stems, stalkless. Leaves on flowerless stems very dense, sparse on flowering stems. Blade obovate–linear, blunt-tipped, cylindrical, fleshy, glabrous, dark green–reddish.
  • Fruit: Cluster of 5 many-seeded, basally united follicles.
  • Habitat: Rocks, hill slopes, meadows. Also an ornamental, occasionally wild.
  • Flowering time: June.

The Finnish soil has been affected by the Ice Age and its after-effects. There has not been enough time yet for all the rocks to be covered by earth, and there are still plenty bare and thinly-covered rocky outcrops, which have become home to plants that are particularly fond of dry, hot places. Compared to other plants that grow in Finland, succulent-leaved stonecrops are the best able to withstand long periods of drought. Tasteless sedum only grows on the main island of the Åland Islands. The species’ spread is limited by both climate and soil: the Åland Islands has a temperate maritime climate and rich, calciferous soil. Tasteless sedum is occasionally cultivated in gardens as an ornamental, like many of its relatives. It makes a great ground-cover plant as it forms dense, low, lively green moss-like stands.

Tasteless stonecrop looks very much like biting stonecrop (S. acre), but its stem has edges and its narrow leaves are arranged in five or six rows. This is particularly obvious on flowerless stems. One way of telling what plant you are holding is to taste it: Tasteless stonecrop has a mild flavour (of course) but biting stonecrop is extremely bitter. This bitter juice is in fact poisonous and can even cause a rash on the skin. In habitats that are common to both species watch-chain sedum begins flowering a couple of weeks later than its relative. Biting stonecrop is the more common of the two and grows ferally, also on mainland Finland as far north as northern Ostrobothnia.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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