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Reflexed Stonecrop

Petrosedum rupestre

  • Name also: Blue Stonecrop, Jenny’s Stonecrop, Prick-madam
  • Latin synonym: Sedum rupestre, Sedum reflexum
  • Family: Stonecrop Family – Crassulaceae
  • Growing form: Perennial herb.
  • Height: 15–30 cm (6–12 in.). Stem ascending, woody at base. Flowerless parts along ground.
  • Flower: Corolla regular (actinomorphic), golden yellow, approx. 1.5–2 cm (0.6–0.8 in.) wide; petals usually 7 (occasionally 5–9), tapered, 6–7 mm (0.28 in.) long. Sepals usually 7. Stamens usually 14. Gynoecium with separate leaves, pistils usually 7. Inflorescence a corymbose cyme. Inflorescence nodding in budding stage.
  • Leaves: Opposite, stalkless on upper part of stem. Blade linear, cylindrical, curved, sharp-pointed, fleshy, glabrous, bluish green.
  • Fruit: Cluster of usually 6 many-seeded, basally united follicles.
  • Habitat: Rocks, slopes, meadows, wasteland. Ornamental, quite often wild.
  • Flowering time: June–July.
  • Endangerment: Near threatened.

Reflexed stonecrop demands a slightly thicker soil than its relatives, preferably on sandy soil or on a moraine, and it grows ferally on the west coast of Sweden and the large islands in the Baltic. Reflexed stonecrop was only discovered in Finland for the first time in 1881, on the northern side of the archipelago town of Mariehamn which was gradually being established. The plant could be native to Finland, but this late time-frame for its discovery certainly points to it being introduced by humans. Botanists transferred the plant from the Åland islands to places around southern Finland where the plant usually thrives very well, even showing a tendency to spread into the wild. Nowadays the species grows on the mainland on rocky outcrops and dry slopes as an established alien.

Many different plants are sold in garden centres as reflexed stonecrop. The most commonly confused are reflexed stonecrop and rock stonecrop (P. fosterianum). Reflexed stonecrop is however more erect and sturdy than rock stonecrop, and it flowers a couple of weeks later. The shoots on overwintering rock stonecrop shoots are terminated in a spherical leaf cluster, which are noticeable for their long growing season.

Of the Finnish species, reflexed stonecrop bears most general resemblance to biting stonecrop (Sedum acre), and both form dense mat-like stands with their flowerless branches and yellow-topped inflorescence. Reflexed stonecrop’s inflorescence rises however twice as high and its leaves are also twice as long. During its flowering time it’s easy to differentiate the species in other ways too: biting stonecrop has five petals while reflexed stonecrop has more, usually seven. The same difference can be seen in the amount of follicles, and apart from that on biting stonecrop they straggle in a star shape, while on reflexed stonecrop they stand up erect.

Other species from the same family

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