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The ground-hugging  stems of this rock-loving perennial usually send up several short, leafy, non-flowering stalks along with a single flowering stalk that branches into 3 curved or horizontal branches of star-like, white flowers. The stems spill over rocks and form a lush, succulent groundcover, looking quite showy when the masses of sharp-tipped flowers are on display. The evergreen foliage is rounded and fleshy. In the wild, it's often found in moist forests, wooded ravines, coves, bottomlands, or shaded rock outcrops or river banks. Woodland stonecrop tolerates shade and moist soils better than most other sedums, and it will survive drought, heat, rocky, and poor soils. It establishes quickly but may do less well in cold temperatures. It's very low maintenance and is often used on green roofs. Sedums are easy to propogate, and woodland stonecrop is no exception.The stems break off and die in winter, leaving newly rooted plants separate from the mother plant. The leaves tend to fall off easily; however, the fallen leaves can be used to propagate new plants.

 

Woodland stonecrop is a member of the Stonecrop family, which includes succulent herbs or small shrubs, usually with star-like flowers in branched clusters. Many are cultivated as ornamentals or succulent novelties, including jade tree, stonecrops, and air plant. The genus name comes from the Latin word sedeo, meaning "to sit" in reference to the habit of many of the sedum species to sit and sprawl over rocks. The species name means "in threes" and refers to the leaves, which appear in whorls of three.

 

Plant Characteristics:

Grows 4-8" tall and 12" wide. Without flowers, about 3" tall.

 

Prefers part shade. Tolerates full shade and full sun.

 

Prefers average to moist, well-drained soils, especially near limestone. Adapts to clay or sandy soils.

 

Flowers bloom April-June with 4-5 sharply pointed petals, 5 green sepals, and purplish stamens.

 

Wildlife Value:

Host plant to 5 species of Lepidoptera larvae, including common buckeye and variegated fritillary. Resistant to deer.

 

Medicinal, Edible, and Other Uses:

Stems and leaves may be eaten raw when very young and tender. As the stems and leaves age, but before the plants flower, the edible parts may still be eaten if they are briefly cooked. The sap can irritate the skin of some people and the leaves, eaten in quantity, can cause stomach upsets.

 

Caution: Some references describe this plant as mildly toxic if ingested, while others do not.

 

Resources:

North Caroline Extension: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/sedum-ternatum/#:~:text=In%20nature%2C%20Mountain%20Stonecrop%20is,shade%20in%20well%2Ddrained%20soil.

 

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=sete3

 

Gardenia: https://www.gardenia.net/plant/sedum-ternatum

Stonecrop, Woodland, Sedum ternatum

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