Sedum purpureum (L.) Schult.
Family: Crassulaceae
Sedum purpureum image
Morton Arboretum  
Perennial herb 20 cm - 0.8 m tall Leaves: alternate or in whorls of three, stalkless, dull green, leaves 4 - 10 cm long, becoming smaller near tip of stem, broadly elliptic to oblong, toothed, flat, succulent, sometimes lightly covered with a waxy whitish coating (glaucous). Flowers: borne on a compact convex inflorescence 7 - 20 cm across, sepals more than 5 mm long, petals deep pink (nearly red) and wide-spreading. Fruit: an upright follicle, usually sterile. Stems: many, erect and succulent.

Similar species: Sedum alboroseum, Sedum album, Sedum purpureum, Sedum spurium, and Sedum ternatum have white to pink or purple flowers. Sedum album is easily distinguished by having leaves that are circular in cross-section and creeping stems. Sedum spurium and S. ternatum also have creeping stems. Sedum alboroseum has white to pale pink petals and non-toothed leaves with an opposite arrangement.

Flowering: mid August to late September

Habitat and ecology: A garden plant introduced from Eurasia, this species escapes along roadsides and railroads.

Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native

Etymology: Sedum comes from the Latin word sedo, meaning "to sit," referring to the manner in which some species attach to walls and rocks. Purpureum means purple.

Author: The Morton Arboretum

Much like no. 2 [Sedum telephioides Michx.] ; perennial from clusters of tuberous- thickened, carrot-like white roots; lvs alternate, or opposite on the branches, sessile, elliptic-oblong, dull green or only slightly glaucous, evidently reduced upwards; sep over 5 (avg 6) mm; pet deep pink, almost red; nectaries yellow, ca 1.7 times as long as wide; ovaries pink, seldom setting seed; triploid, 3x=36. Native of Europe, escaped from cult. and well established in disturbed, moist sites in our range, especially northward. Aug. Perhaps better treated as S. telephium var. purpureum L., but in our range forming a distinctive, sharply delimited unit.

Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.

©The New York Botanical Garden. All rights reserved. Used by permission.