Stonecrops

Biting Stonecrop Caucasian Stonecrop Thick-leaved Stonecrop White Stonecrop

What are they?

These plants form a major part of the family Crassulaceae. This is a family of mostly succulent plants, plants that have thickened, fleshy leaves designed to store quantities of water to see the plant through drought periods. With this water-storing ability, stonecrops can survive in some of the driest of habitats and often look healthy when other plants around them are showing signs of water stress in late summer. When growing in particularly sunny locations, plants often acquire a red coloration to them, caused by an increase in red colour pigments (anthocyanins) which help to protect the plants from sun scorch. Other closely-related plants can be by clicking here.

Where are they found?

Native species are typically found on soils or substrates that are prone to drying out periodically, such as shingle beaches and fine, sandy soils. Introduced species that originate from gardens may be found in a range of habitats in urban locations or along roadsides. All species, whether native or not, may also be adventive and take advantage of suitable niches on walls, cracks in paving, roofs and similar places.

Identification

Flower colour is a good first step to narrow down your search and plants on this page have primarily been grouped by flower colour (yellow/white/pink), followed by leaf shape and style of growth (whether trailing or upright, for example).



Biting Stonecrop      Sedum acre

Native. A widespread and common plant on a wide range of dry, sandy habitats and shingle beaches. Also widely grown as a garden ornamental (especially in a yellow-leaved form) and then spreading readily onto nearby walls and pavements. Flowers June to July. Forms creeping mats to no more than 10cm in height. Leaves flattened on the upper side, broadest at the base and narrowing to a rounded point.

Biting Stonecrop Biting Stonecrop Biting Stonecrop Biting Stonecrop
Habit
Habit
Flower
Leaves


Tasteless Stonecrop      Sedum sexangulare

Introduced from mainland Europe as a garden ornamental. Rare in just a handful of places where found as a garden escape, but colonies often persist for a long time. Flowers July to August. Forms creeping mats to 20cm in height. Leaves tubular and elongate like little fingers. On younger shoots, they nest neatly into each other and form slightly spiralling pyramids of growth which is very distinctive once seen, especially when the shoot or stem is viewed end-on.

Tasteless Stonecrop Tasteless Stonecrop Tasteless Stonecrop Tasteless Stonecrop
Flowers
Flowers
Leaves
Leaves


Reflexed Stonecrop      Petrosedum rupestre

Introduced from mainland Europe as a garden ornamental. Widespread and surviving well on walls and dry, sandy banks. Flowers June to August. Forms clusters of upright, spiky stems, with flowering stems rising above the leafy stems and up to 35cm in height. Leaves tubular and elongate with long-attenuated and finely pointed tips.

Tasteless Stonecrop Tasteless Stonecrop Tasteless Stonecrop Tasteless Stonecrop
Habit
Flowers
Leaves
Leaf tips


White Stonecrop      Sedum album

Introduced from mainland Europe as a garden ornamental. Very common and widespread in all kinds of dry habitats but especially along the edges of pavements and roads where vegetation creeps out over the hard surface. Flowers June to August. Forms creeping mats to 15cm in height. Flowers very prolific, often crowding out the rest of the plant from view. Leaves thick and rounded, often slightly flattened on the upper side; green or tinged with red.

White Stonecrop White Stonecrop White Stonecrop White Stonecrop
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Flowers
Flowers
Leaves


English Stonecrop      Sedum anglicum

Native on coastal sands and shingle and in Breckland. Occasionally found elsewhere as a garden escape. Flowers June to August. A small, mat-forming species growing to no more than 10cm in height. Leaves oval, narrower towards the tip and strongly thickened; glrey-green in colour but often strongly reddened, especially on exposed coastal sites. Flowers white or flushed pale pink. Petals narrower and more pointed than those of White Stonecrop and carried in smaller clusters.

English Stonecrop English Stonecrop English Stonecrop English Stonecrop
Flowers
Flowers
Leaves
Leaves


Thick-leaved Stonecrop      Sedum dasyphyllum

Introduced from mainland Europe as a garden ornamental. Common as a garden plant but rather rare as a garden escape, usually on old walls. Flowers June to July. Leaves very thickly fleshy, almost globular; grey-green or tinged with reddish-purple. Two forms are grown, variety dasyphyllum has smooth leaves, while variety glanduliferum has gland-tipped hairs on the leaves.

Thick-leaved Stonecrop Thick-leaved Stonecrop Thick-leaved Stonecrop Thick-leaved Stonecrop
Habit
Flowers
Leaves (var. glanduliferum)
Leaves (var. dasyphyllum)


Spanish Stonecrop      Sedum hispanicum

Introduced from southeast Europe (not Spain as the name suggests!) as a garden ornamental. Rare, with just three records listed in the region's floras. Flowers June to July. Petals white with a pink stripe down the midvein. Leaves more or less rounded, finger-like and narrowed towards the tip; usually blue-grey in colour.

Spanish Stonecrop Spanish Stonecrop
Flowers
Flowers and leaves


Grey Stonecrop      Rhodiola pachyclados

Introduced from mainland Europe as a garden ornamental and recently found on a grassy bank in North Norfolk. Flowers July to August. A low, creeping species, producing flat carpets of densely leafy stems. Leaves grey-green, strongly glaucous; flattened and three-pointed towards the tip.

Grey Stonecrop
Habit


Caucasian Stonecrop      Phedimus spurius

Introduced from the Caucasus region as a garden ornamental. Fairly common as a garden plant and occasionally found as a garden escape, usually on old walls or dry banks. Flowers June to August. Stems trailing, upright towards the ends where the leaves are clustered. Leaves broad and strongly toothed at the margins, narrowed at the base but without a petiole.

Caucasian Stonecrop Caucasian Stonecrop Caucasian Stonecrop Caucasian Stonecrop
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Flowers
Flowers
Leaves


Lesser Caucasian Stonecrop      Phedimus stoloniferus

Introduced from the Caucasus region as a garden ornamental. Frequent as a garden plant but rarely found as a garden escape. Flowers June to August. Stems trailing, forming a messy tangle. Leaves broad and lightly toothed at the margins, narrowed at the base to an obvious petiole.

Lesser Caucasian Stonecrop Lesser Caucasian Stonecrop Lesser Caucasian Stonecrop Lesser Caucasian Stonecrop
Habit
Flowers
Flowers
Leaves


Butterfly Stonecrop      Hylotelephium spectabile

Introduced from eastern Asia as a garden ornamental. Very popular and common as a garden plant and occasionally found as a garden escape in grassy places or where garden waste has been dumped. Flowers August to September. Herbaceous, sending up new shoots in the spring and dieing down in the autumn. Leaves pale glaucous-green. Flowers tiny, pink, in large, flat-topped clusters.

Butterfly Stonecrop Butterfly Stonecrop Butterfly Stonecrop Butterfly Stonecrop
Habit
Flowers
Flowers
Leaf


Autumn Stonecrop      Hylotelephium 'Herbstfreude'

A plant of horticultural origin, being a hybrid between Butterfly Stonecrop and our native Orpine. Popular as a garden plant and occasionally found as a garden escape in grassy places or where garden waste has been dumped, but far less frequent than Butterfly Stonecrop. Flowers August to September. Herbaceous, sending up new shoots in the spring and dieing down in the autumn. Leaves dull grey-green. Flowers tiny, reddish, in large, flat-topped clusters. Usually sold as the cultivar 'Autumn Joy'.

Autumn Stonecrop Autumn Stonecrop Autumn Stonecrop
Habit
Flowers
Leaf


Orpine      Hylotelephium telephium

Native. Widespread on roadsides and grassy places in the east of the region as a native and scattered elsewhere as a garden escape. Now much less common than formerly as the wild population has largely been lost to inappropriate and destructive verge cutting techniques. Flowers mostly July to September. Herbaceous, sending up new shoots in the spring and dieing down in the autumn. Leaves dull grey-green. Flowers small, reddish, in rounded clusters.

Orpine Orpine Orpine Orpine
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Flowers
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Leaf