Ditch Stonecrop, Star Fruit, Virginia Stonecrop
Synonyms of Penthorum sedoides (3) (Updated on 12-8-21 from Plants of the World Online): Sedum penthorum Crantz, Penthorum circinale Salisb., Penthorum sedoides f. leucosperma Svenson
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.
As of 12-8-21 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists two species in the Penthorum genus. The genus is also a member of its own family, Penthoraceae.
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 the United States and Canada. The species may be more widespread than what the maps show.
The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations. The maps on iNaturalist are continuallly updated as members post new observations..
THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND TO HELP WITH A BETTER 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 and 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 catch up writing wildflower pages over the winter so I can’t very well go back and have a look. 🙂
Leaves are up to 4” long x 1” across. The leaves are short-stemmed (petiolate) or can be stemless (sessile), 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 was fairly busy in the summer of 2020 so I didn’t get to take more photos of the Penthorum sedoides until September 20. I did manage to find a few flowers, but the photos were kind of blurry so I couldn’t add them.
The upper stems terminate with a cluster of flowers called cymes or cyme-like panicles that are 1-3” across. Each cyme produces 2-4 flowering stalks (pedicels). The flowers usually have no petals (apetalous).
The photos of the flowers on other websites are pretty interesting, so I’ll have to see if I can get photos in 2021. Missouri Plants says flowering is from July-October so I will have to make a note of that. 🙂
Finally, I was able to take photos of the flowers on August 9 in 2021…
Probably a week later and I would have missed them AGAIN… I took several close-ups but they were to blurry. Maybe in 2022…
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. My farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and identified over 200 species of wildflowers (most have pages listed on the right side of the page). 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 few horticulturalists 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 email@example.com. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
LADY BIRD JOHNSON WILDFLOWER CENTER
KANSAS WILDFLOWERS AND GRASSES
PFAF (PLANTS FOR A FUTURE)
NOTE: The data (figures, maps, accepted names, etc.) may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates. Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. Some of the links may use a name that is a synonym on other sites. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates “at least” once a year and when I write new pages or add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂