Thursday, July 31, 2008

Orostachys japonica

Sempervivum? No, Sempervivum is not found beyond Asia minor and the Caucasus. Other genera of crassulaceae from Japan are Orostachys, Sedum i think this is an Orostachys. This compact rosetted succulent was found growing on rocks near the sea at Utoro, Hokkaido, Japan. Orostachys are biennials - they die after flowering in the 2nd year. The intense red and extreme clustering of leaves in the top photo is an indicative sign of emerging stem inflorescence in autumn. There are few accompanying plants in the harsh rocky habitat besides Phedimus kamtschaticus (Sedum aizoon ssp kamtschaticum), Artemisia sp and some annual members of the compositae. I can imagine the succulent rosette of leaves buried under at less a foot of snow! Based on internet photos and description from Flora of China, i think it is O. japonica. It is a widespread species from Eastern China extending to Japan, Korea and Russia.

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