Members of the Crassulaceae are succulent herbs or small shrubs with leaves that are simple, entire, fleshy, and whorled or almost so. In many species, these leaves can be used to start new plants—and do so in the wild. The flowers are radially symmetric, with an equal number of sepals and petals. There are usually 5 of each, but there is quite a bit of variation. The sepals are separate or united, as are the petals, sometimes forming a distinctly tubular corolla. There are 1 or 2 whorls of stamens, the number in each whorl equaling the number of petals. The ovary is superior, and the 4-5 carpels are almost free, being united only at the base in some species. Each carpel is subtended by a nectary. At maturity, the carpels mature into capsules. The Crassulaceae grows from tropical to boreal regions, often in arid habitats. Many of the boreal species grow among rocks, which warm up rapidly and reflect the sun's heat onto the plants. A family of about 1500 species in 30 genera, cosmopolitan but with the majority of species found in Mexico, southern Africa and the Mediterranean. Many are grown as house plants.
Guide to Identify Presented Species of the Stonecrop Family
Sedum lanceolatum Lance-leaved Stonecrop Succulent herb, 5-20 cm tall. Dry, stony, open sites and rock outcrops.
Flowers yellow, 1-1.5 cm wide, with 5 petals, in dense, flat-topped clusters.
Leaves alternate, narrowly lance-shaped, about 1 cm long, fleshy, rounded.
Rhodiola rhodantha Redpod Stonecrop Succulent herb, 5-30 cm tall. Wet ground, streams or marshes, montane-alpine.
Flowers pink, 8-10 mm long, in dense, round to elongated heads.
Leaves numerous, alternate, lance-shaped, 1-3 cm long, fleshy but flat, pointed.
Alphabetical listing with links to presented species of the Stonecrop family: