Siebold’s Stonecrop, October Daphne Stonecrop, Etc.
Hylotelephium sieboldii (Regal) H.Ohba is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Hylotelephium. The genus and species were named and described as such by Hideaki Ohba in Botanical Magazine (Tokyo) in 1977. It was previously known as Sedum sieboldii as described by Eduard August von Regel in Index Seminum in 1856.
Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 26 species in the Hylotelephium genus (as of 2-18-21 when I last updated this page). It is a member of the plant family Crassulaceae with 36 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made (and likely will).
When I started updating this page on February 17, 2021, I went on a wild goose chase to find out who actually named and described Sedum sieboldii first. There was no question about the new name, Hylotelephium sieboldii, being named by Hideaki Ohba. The issue was the basionym. Most websites and databases say Sedum sieboldii Sweet x Hook. was the accepted name and after reading William Jackson Hooker’s description in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine dated 1863, one might be in agreement… But you have to go much deeper to see why Sedum sieboldii Sweet ex Hook is not accurate. In one part he says:
“A very interesting species of Stonecrop, and very unlike any one known to me, which appears to have been introduced by Messrs. Henderson, Pine-apple Place, from Japan, in 1838, into our gardens, under the name of Sedum Sieboldii, of Sweet ; and such a name is in garden catalogues, but I have failed to find any character or description. Its affinity is perhaps with Sedum ternatum of North America, and the habit is a good deal that of S. Anacampseros.”
“…from Japan, into our gardens under the name of Sedum Sieboldii, of Sweet; and such a name in garden catalogues, but I have failed to find any character of description.” Dated 1863… The gardens he is referring to is likely the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew where he was working and was appointed its first full-time director when it became a government-owned institution.
Here’s the catch… In Mr. Hooker’s description in 1863, he claims the Sedum sieboldii was named by Mr. Sweet. Or does he? He just said “Sweet” which could mean, in fact, Sweet’s Hortus Britannicus… He said the plants were in the gardens “of Sweet” in 1838. The author abbreviation for “Sweet” is for Robert Sweet…
So, how about this one?
Sedum sieboldii hort. ex G.Don. This scientific name refers to the name listed by George Don in Sweet’s Hortus Britannicus in 1839. Now we are getting down to the nitty-gritty… The name “hort.” refers to plants grown in cultivation, in a garden, etc. Now, where would that garden be? Right! The Royal Botanical Garden… Ummm, the same garden referred to by Mr. Hooker when he said: “…in 1838, into our gardens under the name of Sedum Sieboldii, of Sweet.” The Sweet he was referring to was Robert Sweet who wrote the first edition of Sweet’s Hortus Britannicus in 1826 and the second edition in 1830 “listing” more than 30,000 plants. Mr. Sweet died in 1835… George Don wrote, or edited, the third edition, which was enlarged and improved in 1839. Guess what? I looked through the entire list of plant names, several hundred pages in each volume until I came to the Sedum genus. Sedum sieboldii is not listed in the first or second edition written by George Sweet. It is listed only in the third edition by George Don as “Sedum Sieboldii hort. (ye), Japan 1938”… Well, that throws that out because of the (ye) which means it has yellow flowers. Sedum sieboldii has pinkish flowers… Hortus Britannicus doesn’t have descriptions or photos, just a VERY, VERY long list of plants…
Basically, what Mr. Hooker wrote is incorrect. You would think he would have realized the third edition was by George Don and he should have gone through the pages and found where it said Sedum Sieboldii hort. (ye)… He would have realized it wasn’t named by Sweet and the listing is for a plant with yellow flowers and thus not Sedum sieboldii at all. After all, he said it was a very interesting species and he was the director of the botanical garden. He knows its flowers are not yellow and even has a nice drawing of the plant with flowers in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine…
SO, here I go trying to find out more about Eduard Regal’s description in Hortus Seminum in 1856 because it just seems weird. Here is a species that has been around for a very long time. And how can Plants of the World Online say Eduard Regel named and described Sedum sieboldii in 1856? I am not questioning Plants of the World Online, I just want to make sure what I put on this site is accurate.
FINALLY, on February 19, I found a very lengthy article by Roy Mottram in the July 2019 edition of the Sedum Society Newsletter, pages 88-100, about Hylotelephium sieboldii… On page 90 it says”
“A record at Kew indicates that it was flowering at Cobham Park, Surrey, in October 1851, while a specimen in the London Natural History Museum records it flowering in Venice, Italy in 1871. The December seed list of St. Petersburg Botanic Gardens also offers seed as S. sieboldii, and on page 51, Eduard Regel (1815-1892) then Director of the garden wrote a Latin description providing the first validating publication of the name.“ The first validating publication would be, of course, Index Seminum in 1856. Well, you have to read the whole article to that point to understand the meaning… Index Seminum is a seed list that was published for many years. It is basically a seed exchange…
Then father down in the next paragraph it says:
“Somehow publication of the name by Regel had gone unnoticed and Sedum sieboldii was superfluously redescribed by Hooker in the Botanical Magazine (89: t.5358. 1863), which colour plate has since been designated as the “iconotype”, a term sometimes used when an illustration is chosen as a lectotype (Eggli, Illustr. Handbk Succ. Pl.: Crassulac.: 138. 2005). In March 2011, V. Byalt annotated several herbarium sheets at Kew. These specimens include collections made by a Kew gardener, Richard Oldham (1837-1864), of plants cultivated in Japan (Nagasaki and Yedo) in 1861-62, that are date stamped “Herbarium Hookerianum 1867”. Possibly these Oldham collections may not have arrived in time to have been seen by Hooker as he prepared his description published in 1863. A sheet of cultivated material grown in Cobham, Surrey, dated Oct 1851 would have been seen by Hooker in preparing the validating publication.“
OH, I found the Sedum Society Newsletter on Open Research Online/The Open University’s Repository of research publications and other research outputs.
So, who actually named Sedum sieboldii? Well, who knows… If you read the newsletter article you will see it goes back to the 1700’s… If you missed the link to the article above, click HERE.
THERE ARE A FEW LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING.
I bought this October Daphne, or whatever you choose to call it, from Wal-Mart in June 2014. I put it in the cast iron planter (that used to be part of a furnace) next to the bed behind the old foundation where my grandparent’s old house was. It received full sun in this location which brought out the color of the leaves.
The species was named after Philipp Franz von Siebold, a very notable German plant collector with an amazing history!
Origin: Japan, possibly also China
Zones: USDA Zones *2a-10b (-50 to 35° F)
Light: Sun to light shade
Water: Average. Drought tolerant. Do not overwater.
*Dave’s Garden says USDA zones 2a-10b, but other websites say USDA zones 3-9 and 6-9. I am in zone 6 and this plant did not survive the winter well here.
This plant is very easy to grow in full sun to light shade. In hotter climates, this plant needs light shade.
They need very well-drained soil as with most Sedum species. They are drought tolerant but appreciate regular watering during the heat of the summer. If grown in pots the soil should dry out between watering as overwatering will cause the roots to rot.
Although this plant barely came up in the spring of 2015, it didn’t do well and fizzled out. Maybe someday I will find another one and give it another shot. It was a very neat plant for sure!
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.