Ditch Stonecrop, Star Fruit, Virginia Stonecrop
Penthorum sedoides L. is the correct and accepted scientific name for the Ditch Stonecrop. The genus and species were named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Plants of the World Online lists two species of Penthorum. The genus is also a member of its own family, Penthoraceae. I think it was formerly in the Saxifragaceae Family.
The above distribution map for Penthorum sedoides is from Plants of the World Online. Areas in green are where the species is native and purple where it has been introduced. Besides being native to the eastern half of North America, it is also a native of Vietnam. The USDA Plants Database map is similar for North America.
There are several links at the bottom of the page for further reading and to help with positive ID.
I found a few of these plants along the pond in the back of the farm while taking wildflower photos on September 18, 2019. There were no flowers at the time, but I was able to identify them from their fruit.
Penthorum sedoides is a perennial plant that grows 1-3’ tall that either grows a single stem or branches out in the upper half.
Stems can be either smooth (glabrous) or slightly hairy (pubescent) and grow in an alternate pattern.
As I said, there were no flowers when I took these photographs. Of course, for this plant, the fruit is the most interesting thing and I am not even going to try to describe them in understandable English. You can visit the websites below for “botanical” descriptions. The seedpods turn a reddish color in the fall, but I didn’t get photos of that either. I am writing this page on March 20 so I can’t very well go have a look.
Leaves are up to 4” long x 1” across. The leaves are short-stemmed (petiolate) or can be stemless, finely serrated (serrulate), kind of broadly lance-shaped (elliptic or narrowly ovate) and taper to a point (acuminate). Leaves may be kind of rough due to their fine hairs.
I will keep an eye on these plants in 2020 so I can get more photos.
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street) and other areas. The city limits is also across the street and the north and south side of the farm. I have grown over 500 different plants and most have pages listed on the right side of the blog. I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a horticulturalist I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.