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Origin and Habitat: Maltrata and Acultzingo, Veracruz (Mexico, Northern America)
Altitude range: Around 1900-2000 metres above sea level
Habitat and ecology: It grows on Matorral xerófilo on north-facing granite outcrop.
- Sedum lucidum R.T.Clausen
SPANISH (Español): Siempreviva
Description: Sedum lucidum is a hairless perennial succulent shrub to 20 cm high and has distinctive rosettes of very fat, lustrous, green leaves edged in red in bright light. The other thick-leaved species of Sedum of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt have leaves which are glaucous or dull green. It produces pretty little white flowers in winter.
Stems: Erect to prostrate, up to 20(-45) cm long, 4-5 mm in diameter, reluctant to drop basal leaves, later naked, grey or reddish, green when young.
Rosettes: Tight, at the end of stems, 5-4.5 cm across with ca. 19 leaves.
Leaves: Alternate, elliptic to oblanceolate or spathulate, stalkless, acute to obtuse, (1.4-)2.5-2.7(-5) cm long, 1-1.9 cm thick, smooth, dark green with pink in them, shining (especially young leaves) ca. 5 cm long, 5-8 mm thikc. Upper face flat or convex, lover face convex. Apex rounded. Margin entire.
Inflorescences: Tight pleiochasial cymes (cymes with three or more lateral axes) up to 7.5 cm long reddish to greenish, sprouting out of the ends of the stems, with glossy bracts and sepals. Flowering branches 1-3, 3.5-4.5 cm long. Bracts of peduncle 5-9 alternate, appressed, oblanceolate 4.5 cm long, 2.4 cm broad and up to 1 cm thick persistent green reddish at apex. Bracteoles oblong-lanceolate, ca 5.5 mm long and 1.5 mm wide, pale green, acuminate. Pedicels, short less than 7 mm long, and 1 mm in diameter, slightly turbinate, pale green, usually with small bracteoles. The bracts turn bright colours making the overall blossom colour appear pink.
Flowers: White, yellow-centred, with musky scent, 9-11mm across. Sepals free, lanceolate, ca 2.7 mm long and 1.5 mm wide, apex pointed. Petals white, lanceolate or elliptic-oblong, obtuse or acute 5 mm long, 2.6 mm wide, slightly channelled in the middle. Stamens 10, white, approx 4.6 mm long. Anthers yellows. Carpels 2.4 mm high, 0.9 mm wide, pale green. Style 1.1 mm long, pale green.
Blooming season: Late autumn to early spring.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Sedun lucidum group
- Sedum lucidum R.T.Clausen: is succulent shrub to 20 cm high with very fat, lustrous, green leaves. Flowers white flowers in winter. Distribution: Maltrata and Acultzingo, Veracruz, Mexico:
- Sedum lucidum obesum: has fatter, rounder, glossy green leaves that take on an awesome cherry-red colour in full sun. South of Acultzingo, Veracruz, Mexico.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Robert Theodore Clausen “Sedum of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt: An Exposition of Taxonomic Methods” 1959
2) Robert Theodore Clausen “Sedum of North America North of the Mexican plateau.” p.. 1–742. 1975
3) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey “The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass” Cambridge University Press, 11/Aug/2011
4) Sedum lucidum in: Kew Magazine 4: 75 1987
5) Chazaro Basanez, M. J. “Crassulaceae del Centro de Veracruz y Zona Limitrofe de Puebla, II.” Cact. Suc. Mex. 35(4): 83–90. 1990.
6) CONABIO. “Catálogo taxonómico de especies de México.” 1. In Ca. nat. México. CONABIO, Mexico City. 20096.
7) Mynah “Botanica: The Illustrated A-Z of Over 10,000 Garden Plants and how to Cultivate Them” 1997
Cultivation and Propagation: Sedum lucidum grows as a small-scale ground-cover, branching and also making offsets from the base to form a clump which spreads outward over time. Great scrambler in the ground if soil is well-drained, especially trained over or around a rock. Its stems grow to about 20 cm in length and it makes an excellent plant for a hanging basket. Sedums is an easily grown succulent that can tolerate sun, shade, moist soils, dry soils, but looks its best only when given adequate light levels and water, and ideally should be grown outdoors in full sun. With its extreme drought resistance, S. lucidum needs only minimal care to reward you with its attractive texture.
Exposure: It prefers likes a full sun position or light shade with ample airflow. Bright light is required to prevent "stretching" of Sedums ("stretching" occurs when a moderately fast growing plant such as an Sedum, is grown in dim light or over-fertilized, which causes overly lush growth that contributes to weak, pallid plants). However, when moving plants from lower light conditions into full sun, be wary of sun scorch resulting from too rapid a transition into intense summer sunlight, most easily avoided by ensuring plants are well-watered before moving them on a cloudy day.
Waterings: Sedums are able to tolerate extended dry periods and survive drought without the need for watering, but they will grow stronger if they receive adequate moisture during their growing season, but never allowing the plant to remain waterlogged (root rot sensitive). Avoid overhead watering under humid conditions, especially during winter.
Soil: It is essential in cultivation to use a very porous soil, which will allow quick drainage. Sedums are shallow rooted plants, and therefore benefit from good levels of organic matter in the soil. Give it enough root space for optimum growth.
Fertilization: Slow release fertilisers with a low to moderate nitrogen content incorporated into the potting mix are usually adequate for the spring and summer growing seasons of Sedums, and additional fertiliser applications would not normally be required until spring.
Ventilation: Good air movement is important for minimising pest and disease risks, and avoiding excessive humidity in cool winter conditions is important to successfully growing Sedums in the nursery environment.
Hardiness: Though not terrifically cold-hardy, it can take overnight temperatures to -3 C however, the ideal temperature range during the summer growing season is 5-25°C, with the cooler autumn temperatures tending to make their foliage colours become more intense than those of the active summer growing season.
Pests and diseases: Aphids like this plant (and all flowering sedums).
Uses: It is cultivated as an ornamental plant, it makes a superb container plant in frost-prone areas and can be an attractive part of rock gardens between stepping stones or in wall niches in frost-free localities.
Maintenance: The seed heads will remain on this summer to fall blooming plant. Removing them will not keep the plant blooming longer. Many people consider the seed heads to be attractive and will allow them to remain on the plant throughout the winter before removing them as part of their garden spring cleaning.
Propagation: It is easily propagated by cuttings in the spring. When the stem becomes too tall, just cut the top rosette with a piece of stem and plant it. It will soon take root, while the plant left with just the stem will soon grow new buds that can be in turn used for propagation. Time to take cuttings: April to July. New plants may be grown from leaves (or beans) that drop off or are separated from the stem and laid on the soil. If the plant is repotted some of the bottom leaves can be removed, in order to attempt propagation. However some of the cuttings will dry out without producing a plantlet.
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