Orange Stonecrop, Russian Stonecrop
Or Maybe Possibly…
Sedum kamtschaticum var. ellacombeanum
Which may be a synonym of…
Sedum kamtschaticum Fisch. & C.A.Mey. was named and described by Friedrich Ernst Ludwig von (Fedor Bogdanovic) Fischer and Carl Anton (Andreevič) Meyer in Index Seminum in 1841.
Although Sedum kamtschaticum has been the correct and accepted name for this species since 1841, it is highly possible that it is now Phedimus kamtschaticus. Phedimus kamtschaticus (Fisch.) ’t Hart was described by Henk ’t Hart and Urs Eggli in Evolution and Systematics of the Crassulaceae in 1995.
In an email from Margrit Bischofberger in 2013, she said,
“For the plant now called Phedimus kamtschaticus :
It has been described as a Sedum species in 1841 and has been considered a Sedum species for a very long time. The genus Sedum in a wide sense has been used to accommodate a great number of sometimes fairly diverse plants. At the end of the last century botanists have begun to separate certain groups with distinctive features and give them new names, > Phedimus, > Hylotelephium, < Rhodiola, > Orostachys etc.
So now the correct name of a group of plants with flat leaves which are often serrate or dentate is Phedimus. That means it is the other way round: The accepted name is Phedimus kamtschaticus and the earlier name S. kamtschaticum is a synonym.”
Margrit Bischofberger is one of the foremost Crassulaceae specialists and the editor of the International Crassulaceae Network. I became acquainted with Mrs. Bischofberger when she was helping me correctly identify several plants in 2013. She asked me to send photos and names of all my plants in the Crassulaceae family which I gladly did.
Apparently, I bought this plant from Mast’s Greenhouse on May 16, 2016, when I was temporarily without a camera. I took a photo of it with my computer and that’s when it is dated. I bought quite a few plants while I was there that were unlabeled which can be a problem when buying from Amish greenhouses (at least for me). I took all their photos with my computer that I can barely make out, and to this day I am scratching my head as to what some of the plants were and even what became of them… Finally, I did get another camera on July 19.
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When I was doing research for Sedum kamtschaticum, I ran across Sedum kamtschaticum var. ellacombeanum on the Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder (See link below). They say it is similar to the species but a little larger. I already knew Sedum kamtschaticum was an accepted species on Plants of the World Online by Kew, but it does not list an infraspecific species by that name, not even as a synonym. Plants of the World Online does not accept the Phedimus genus either and says it is a synonym of Sedum. The International Plant Names Index (IPNI) list the name as Sedum kamtschaticum Fisch. & C.A.Mey. subsp. ellacombeanum (Praeger) R.T.Clausen.
Sedum kamtschaticum subsp. ellacombeanum (Praeger) R.T.Clausen was named and described by Robert Theodore Clausen in Sedum of North America North of the Mexican Plateau in 1975. The basionym for this name is Sedum ellacombeanum Praeger which was named and described by Robert Lloyd Praeger in Journal of Botany, British and Foreign in 1917.
SO, I went to the 2013 version of The Plant List (actually version 1.1) to see if it is an infraspecific name under Sedum kamtschaticum. It was there listed as a synonym. SO, I clicked on Tropicos and found Sedum kamtschaticum subsp. ellacombeanum (Praeger) R.T.Clausen. Under the name is a tab that says “Accepted Species” which I also clicked. HOLY COW! It says the accepted name is Phedimus aizoon!!! In other words, Sedum kamtschaticum subsp. ellacombeanum is a synonym of Phedimus aizoon! How could that be?
SO, I went to the International Crassulaceae Network to see if there were photos of Phedimus aizoon. Guess what? Photos of Phedimus aizoon look exactly like Phedimus kamtschaticus… So, in a roundabout way, as the Missouri Botanical Garden says, they are basically the same only their size is different.
Phedimus aizoon (L.) ’t Hart was described by Henk t’ Hart and Urs Eggli in Evolution and Systematics of the Crassulaceae in 1995. The name was approved by the Flora of North America Editorial Committee in 2009. (I think this is correct…).
Tropicos and the USDA Plant Database made their decision based on the description provided by Henk ’t Hart and Urs Eggli in Evolution and Systematics of the Crassulaceae in 1995. Plants of the World Online base their decision on the description provided by Friedrich Ernst Ludwig von (Fedor Bogdanovic) Fischer and Carl Anton (Andreevič) Meyer in Index Seminum in 1841. No doubt they get all this information from The International Plant Names Index(IPNI). Plants of the World Online base their opinion on a description made in 1841 instead of an agreement made by many botanists and horticulturalists to separate the genus into more defined genera.
Sometimes the earliest description is accepted, in which case Sedum kamtschaticum would continue to be the accepted name. I am sure this debate is not over…
I am open-minded on this one because the Sedum genus is very large and contains many species from many parts of the world with varied needs and characteristics. A polygenetic test would be very helpful within the Sedum genus for sure… But could it actually be a Phedimus aizoon? Well, if that name is thrown out, it would probably go right back to Sedum kamtschaticum if it has indeed actually changed at all.
I AM SO CONFISED! I mean CONFUSED!
Anyway, no matter what you call it, this plant is AWESOME! It doesn’t matter what us humans call it, it knows who it is and I think it is keeping it a secret.
Origin: Japan, Kamchatka, Kuril Island…
Zones: USDA Zones 4a-9b (-30 to 25° F)
Size: 6-8” tall or more. Larger if it is a… You know what I mean.
Light: Sun to part shade
Water: Average water needs. Drought tolerant.
As with all Sedum, Phedimus… Let’s just say succulent-type plants. GEEZ! If they are grown in the ground they need a very well-draining soil. They aren’t so much particular about the soil type as the need for it to be well-drained. My Sedum kamtschaticum, or whatever you call it, is growing on the second level of a flower bed and it does great. They make good container plants and can be brought inside for the winter, depending on the species. Some really don’t do that well inside.
They are drought tolerant although they appreciate regular watering during the heat of summer when it doesn’t rain that much.
They will do well in the sun to light shade. In some parts of the country, they may do best in light shade where the heat gets very intense. Although my Sedum kamtschaticum is growing where it “could” get full sun all summer, it has been partly shaded by the Marigold ‘Brocade’ on the lower level of the bed and the Celosia spicata ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ on the upper level. Sometimes if I am not paying attention, it almost gets covered up. I have to do something about that for 2018.
January 2018 came in cold and hard with several days well below zero. If there was ever a test for plant hardiness this would have been it. The Sedum kamtschaticum made it through with flying colors. One thing is for sure if this plant is the subspecies Sedum kamtschaticum subsp. ellacombeanum, changing it to Phedimus aizoon would be much easier to spell.
Well, 2018 is here and this plant has survived the winter. This summer I will be taking measurements and more photos to decide if it is the species or subspecies or the other name, Sedum aizoon (I mean Phedimus aizoon). Well crap, there is an accepted Sedum aizoon on Plants of the World Online. You know what? They are all native to the same areas!
In a nutshell, it just depends on whose description you choose to use. If you choose to use the earliest description, then go with Sedum kamtschaticum and Sedum kamtschaticum var. ellacombeanum. If you choose to go the Phedimus route, then it would be Phedimus kamtschaticus or Phedimus aizoon. You decide. All I ask is to look at the photos, native habitat, and descriptions of both species and tell me they aren’t the same… 🙂 I would almost bet a polygenetic test would prove they are both the same species.
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.