Sedum pulchellum Michx.

Widow's Cross

Sedum pulchellum plant

Family - Crassulaceae

Stems - To 30cm tall (long), erect to ascending (with age), succulent, pink, glabrous, glaucous, multiple from base, simple below, widely branching in the inflorescence, terete, 2-4mm in diameter.

Sedum pulchellum stem

Leaves - Alternate, sessile, terete, succulent, +2cm long, glabrous, glaucous, with two pointed basal auricles. The auricles small, -2mm long. Leaves in the inflorescence reduced to bracts.

Sedum pulchellum bractsBract-like leaves.

Inflorescence - Secund racemes of flowers terminating the main stem, to 6cm long. Flowers sessile.

Flowers - Petals 4, pink, to 6mm long, glabrous, linear to linear-lanceolate, acuminate. Stamens +/-8, exserted, erect. Filaments pinkish, glabrous, longer than the petals. Anthers brown when fresh, quickly turning black, +/-1mm long. Ovary 4-5-parted, glabrous. Pistils acuminate. Sepals 4, 2-3mm long, lanceolate, glabrous, greenish-pink, rounded at the apex.

Sedum pulchellum flowers

Flowering - May - July.

Habitat - Limestone glades, ledges, outcrops, also on chert and sandstone.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This brilliant little plant can be found mainly in the southwest 1/4 of Missouri but is scattered in a few more southern counties also. The plant is an annual but is quite prolific under the right conditions. It likes full hot sun and well drained soils.
S. pulchellum produces much seed and grows easily from seed so it would make a great garden subject. Why isn't everyone growing this plant?

Photographs taken in Lebanon, TN., 5-16-03.