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Origin and Habitat: Canary Islands (Northern Lanzarote Island, in the Famara Massif, especially alongside the road down from the Mirador de Haria, where there are huge numbers, and also on the narrow coastal plain at the foot of the Famara cliffs.).
Habitat and ecology: Sedum lancerottense forms colonies, along with Monanthes laxiflora and Aichryson tortuosum, tucked into rock crevices in the cool, damp walls of the cliffs and ravines of the island that receive moist air from the ocean. This species only grows on moist north facing aspects.
SPANISH (Español): pelotilla de Lanzarote
Description: Sedum lancerottense is a dwarf, glabrous, evergreen perennial, densely branched succulent shrub forming small tufts or loose mats. Its flowers are yellow.
Stem: Branches more succulent than woody, non-flowering shoots slender, much-branched, sinuous, smooth, in cultivation weak, creeping or sprawling, and occasionally rooting, brown and leafless below, with many wide-spreading, leafy shoots 5-10 cm long. Flowering branches erect or ascending to 10 cm tall.
Leaves: Sessile, in dense alternate arrangement crowded at the branches tips, egg-shaped to cylindrical, blunt, nearly terete, slightly flattened on upper face, pale green, often with a silvery hue, to 5-6 mm long , set at right angles to the stem, bluntly prolonged below the point of insertion.
Inflorescence: A few-flowered terminal cyme of 2 or 3 usually simple, spreading, 'zigzag branches (cincinni) with or without a central flower, each flower subtended by 2 bract resembling the leaves.
Flowers: 5-merous, sessile or shortly pedicellate along the branches of the cymose panicles, bright yellow. Buds ovate, bluntly pointed, strongly ribbed. Sepals resembling the leaves, green about 4 mm long, ovate,obtuse, not fused at the base, spurred, unequal. The 5 petals free, acute, 5-6 mm long, longer than the longest sepal, lanceolate, acute, often with a short apiculus, keeled, pale yellow. Stamens 10 spreading, a little shorter than the petals; filaments greenish-yellow; anthers yellow. Carpels 5 equalling the stamens, at first erect, soon divergent, connate in lower half, greenish yellow, spreading in fruit. Nectaries spatulate, yellowish.
Blooming season: Summer.
Fruit: Starry, yellowish-brown, with lips along the suture.
Seeds: Pale brown, reticulate-papillose. Seeds of Sedum lancerottense tend to be very dust-like and are carried away by winds sweeping up the cliffs.
Related species. Sedum lancerottense (the only Sedum in the Canaries, excepting the widely spread annual Sedum rubens), is nearly allied to Sedum nudum Ait. endemic to the isle of the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira located in the north Atlantic Ocean, west and slightly south of Portugal and should possibly be looked on as a geographical race of that species. The best characters for distinguishing the two lie in the spurred sepals, minute yellow scales, and carpels at first erect of lancerottense; in nudum the sepals are not spurred, the scales are conspicuous, orange, as long as the carpels, and the carpels spreading, even in bud. As regards habit, S. nudum in Madeira forms small tangled shrubby masses, but in cultivation it is herbaceous and nearly prostrate, with ascending branches, and is indistinguishable in growth-form from Sedum lancerottense.
Chromosome number: 2n = 26.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Urs Eggli “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Crassulaceae” Springer Science & Business Media, 06 December 2012
2) Berthold Seemann “Journal of Botany: British and Foreign”, Volume 37 West, Newman & Company, 1899
3) Copertina anteriore “Anales del Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Agrarias: Serie, Producción vegetal”, Editions 3-4, Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Agrarias., 1973
4) Praeger, R. Lloyd. (2013). pp. 252-3. “An Account of the Genus Sedum As Found in Cultivation” (Vol. 46). London: Forgotten Books. (Original work published 1921)
5) Ray Stephenson “An unusual epiphytic succulent: Aichryson tortuosum” Cactus and Succulent Journal 84(5):247-249. 2012, retrieved 04-05-2016 <http://dx.doi.org/10.2985/0007-9367-84.5.247>
6) David Greenaway “Wild and endemic succulents plants of lanzarote.” Oxotica Volume 6, Number 1 page 7 June 2001
7) R. P. Murray “S. lancerottense” in Journ. of Bot., 37, 1899.
Cultivation and Propagation: Sedums lancerottense is an easily grown succulent that can tolerate shade, moist soils and dry soils, but looks its best only when given adequate light levels and water, and ideally should be grown outdoors in half shaded places. It is occasionally 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. With its drought resistance, S. lancerottense needs only minimal care to reward you with its attractive jelly bean texture, pale-green leaves and yellow flowers.
Exposure: Half sun to shade (avoid full sun exposure), but 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 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: Can tolerate light frosts 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).
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: spring to summer.
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