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Sedum is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Crassulaceae, members of which are commonly known as stonecrops. The genus has been described as containing up to 600 species[2] updated to 470.[3] They are leaf succulents found primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, but extending into the southern hemisphere in Africa and South America.[3] The plants vary from annual and creeping herbs to shrubs. The plants have water-storing leaves. The flowers usually have five petals, seldom four or six. There are typically twice as many stamens as petals.

Biting stonecrop close 800.jpg
Biting Stonecrop (Sedum acre)
Scientific classification


Many, see text & Wikispecies for more.


Various species formerly classified as Sedum are now in the segregate genera Hylotelephium and Rhodiola.

Well-known European species of Sedum are Sedum acre, Sedum album, Sedum dasyphyllum, Sedum reflexum (also known as Sedum rupestre) and Sedum hispanicum.



Sedum demonstrates a wide variation in chromosome numbers, and polyploidy is common. Chromosome number is an important taxonomic feature. ('t Hart 1985) Linnaeus originally described 16 species of European Sedum.[4] There are now thought to be approximately 55 European species.[5]


Formerly placed hereEdit

Hylotelephium telephium ssp. maximum, formerly placed in Sedum

Now in Dudleya:

Now in Hylotelephium:

Now in Rhodiola:


Sedum species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Grey Chi. In particular, Sedum spathulifolium is the host plant of the endangered San Bruno elfin butterfly of San Mateo County, California.[citation needed] Sedum lanceolatum is the host plant of the more common Parnassius smintheus found in the Rocky Mountains.[8] As well as Sedum spathulifolium, many other species of Sedum serve the environmental role of host plants for butterflies. For example, the butterfly Callophrys xami uses several species of Sedum, such as Sedum allantoides, for suitable host plants.[9][10]



Many sedums are cultivated as garden plants, due to their interesting and attractive appearance and hardiness. The various species differ in their requirements; some are cold-hardy but do not tolerate heat, some require heat but do not tolerate cold.

Numerous hybrid cultivars have been developed, of which the following have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:-

  • 'Herbstfreude' ('Autumn Joy')[11]
  • 'Bertram Anderson'[12]
  • 'Matrona'[13]
  • 'Ruby Glow'[14]

As foodEdit

Yellow stonecrop flowers

The leaves of most stonecrops are edible,[15] excepting Sedum rubrotinctum, although toxicity has also been reported in some other species.[16]

Sedum reflexum, known as "prickmadam", "stone orpine", or "crooked yellow stonecrop", is occasionally used as a salad leaf or herb in Europe, including the United Kingdom.[17] It has a slightly astringent sour taste.

Sedum divergens, known as "spreading stonecrop", was eaten by First Nations people in Northwest British Columbia. The plant is used as a salad herb by the Haida and the Nisga'a people. It is common in the Nass Valley of British Columbia.[18]

Biting Stonecrop (Sedum acre) contains high quantities of piperidine alkaloids (namely (+)-sedridine, (−)-sedamine, sedinone and isopelletierine), which give it a sharp, peppery, acrid taste and make it somewhat toxic.


Sedum can be used to provide a roof covering in green roofs,[19] where they are preferred to grasses.[20] Ford's Dearborn Truck Plant's living roof has 454,000 square feet (42,200 m2) of sedum[21]. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars plant in Goodwood, England, has a 242,000 square feet (22,500 m2) roof complex covered in Sedum, the largest in the United Kingdom.[22] Nintendo of America's roof is covered in some 75,000 square feet (7,000 m2) of Sedum.[23] The Javits Center in New York City is covered with 292,000 square feet (27,100 m2) of Sedum. [24]


  1. ^ "Sedum L." Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2006-11-03. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  2. ^ Hideaki Ohba. The taxonomic status of Sedum telephium and its allied species (Crassulaceae). Shokubutsu-gaku-zasshi March 1977, Volume 90, Issue 1, pp 41-56
  3. ^ a b Kunjun Fu, Hideaki Ohba, and Michael G. Gilbert, "Sedum Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 430. 1753", Flora of China onlineCS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  4. ^ H. 't Hart and C. E. Jarvis. Typification of Linnaeus's Names for European Species of Sedum subgen. Sedum (Crassulaceae) Taxon Vol. 42, No. 2 (May, 1993), pp. 399-410
  5. ^ H. 't Hart. Chromosome Numbers in Sedum (Crassulaceae) from Greece. Willdenowia Bd. 15, H. 1 (Jul. 30, 1985), pp. 115-135
  6. ^ Wu; Liu; Zhou; Guo; Bi; Guo; Baker; Smith; Luo (2013). "Sedum plumbizincicola X.H. Guo et S.B. Zhou ex L.H. Wu (Crassulaceae): a new species from Zhejiang Province, China". Plant Systematics and Evolution. 299 (3): 487–498. doi:10.1007/s00606-012-0738-x.
  7. ^ Björk, C. (2010). "Sedum valens (Crassulaceae), a new species from the Salmon River Canyon of Idaho". Madroño 57:2 136.
  8. ^ Doyle, Amanda. "The roles of temperature and host plant interactions in larval development and population ecology of Parnassius smintheus Doubleday, the Rocky Mountain Apollo butterfly" (PDF). University of Alberta. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  9. ^ Opler, Paul A. (1999). A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 218–219. ISBN 978-0395791516.
  10. ^ Ziegler, J. Benjamin; Escalante, Tarsicio (1964). "Observations on the Life History of Callophrys Xami (Lycaenidae)" (PDF). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society. 18 (2): 85–89.
  11. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Sedum 'Herbstfreude'". Retrieved 3 June 2013.
  12. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Sedum 'Bertram Anderson'". Retrieved 3 June 2013.
  13. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Sedum 'Matrona'". Retrieved 3 June 2013.
  14. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Sedum 'Ruby Glow'". Retrieved 3 June 2013.
  15. ^ Plants of Coastal British Columbia, including Washington, Oregon, & Alaska, 2004, Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon, p. 157
  16. ^ "Sedum spp".
  17. ^ "Sedum rupestre - L. Crooked Yellow Stonecrop". Plants for a Future. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  18. ^ Plants of Coastal British Columbia, including Washington, Oregon, & Alaska, 2004, Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon, p. 156
  19. ^ Monterusso, M. A.; Rowe, D. B.; Rugh, C. L. "Establishment and persistence of Sedum spp. and native taxa for green roof applications". American Society for Horticultural Science.
  20. ^ Kalinowski, Tess (August 4, 2009). "Green roof takes root at Eglinton West". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2010-05-23.
  21. ^ "Ford Motor Company's River Rouge Truck Plant".
  22. ^ "Rolls-Royce - Made in Sussex". Sussex Life. October 25, 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  23. ^ Stephen Totilo (August 25, 2011). "The Coolest Things in Nintendo's American Headquarters (And One Uncool Thing)". Kotaku.
  24. ^ "NYREJ Project of the Month: FXFOWLE, Epstein and Tishman complete renovation/ expansion of $465 million Jacob K. Javits Convention Center". New York Real Estate Journal. December 9, 2013.

External linksEdit