Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mystery Crassulaceae

This plant is a real pain to identify but only those in Singapore will have this problem. Let me explain... it appears on sale infrequently, it looks like a Kalanchoe, and like kalanchoe it can be started easily from bits of stem or broken leaves, but nobody has seen the flowers. Being right on the equator, okay to be exact just 1° north of the equator, there's no short days of autumn to trigger flowering.

During my recent trip to China, i spotted a nice pot of flowering kalanchoe... but something is not right. The vegetative parts looked like the kalanchoe i know from Singapore but the flowers are wrong! The flowers showed stronger affinities to Sedum. While trying to read up on Chinese plants which i saw during the trip... i come across a photo of the above in The Garden Plants of China by Peter Valder, Timber Press naming it Sedum spectabilis. Going by a more authoritative reference it is Hylotelephium spectabile per Flora of China vol.8. It is found all the way from Eastern China to Manchuria and Korea.

So much for all the mystery... it is just a non-flowering poor specimen of a highly popular ornamental plant introduced to Europe and N. America.

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