Stonecrop (Sedum sp.) is a hardy and drought-tolerant plant that can be found in dry, rocky areas in Kananaskis Country. With its thick, succulent leaves and vibrant flowers, Stonecrop adds a burst of colour to the landscape. It is also a popular choice for rock gardens and xeriscaping.
Globally, there are over 400 species of Stonecrop, all of which belong to the Crassulaceae family. These plants are native to a variety of climates, including arid regions. They can be found on every continent except Antarctica. In Kananaskis, you may come across several species of Stonecrop. The most common is Sedum lanceolatum or Lance-leaved Stonecrop.
In the summer months, Stonecrop will produce small, vibrant flowers in shades of yellow, though you can find pink and red species, too. These flowers are a favorite among pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Stonecrop does well in rocky or gravelly soil. They can thrive in areas with poor soil quality, but like well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight.
A drought tolerant plant
One of the standout features of Stonecrop is its ability to store water in its leaves and stems. This allows it to survive in dry conditions. The plant’s thick, fleshy leaves and stems act as a natural reservoir, enabling it to thrive even during long periods of drought.
Some animals browse on Stonecrop species. Their thick, fleshy leaves and stems, which contain a high amount of moisture and nutrients, makes them an attractive food source for a variety of animals. This is especially true during dry periods or in areas with limited food resources. Some animals that may browse on Stonecrop include:
- Deer: Stonecrop plants are often browsed by deer, especially during the winter months when other food sources are scarce.
- Elk: Stonecrop is a common food source for elk, especially in the spring and fall when other forage is limited.
- Bighorn sheep: These animals are known to browse on Stonecrop, particularly in rocky or mountainous habitats.
- Mountain goats: Like Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goats are also known to browse on Stonecrop plants in rocky areas.
The leaves of Stonecrop are edible to humans, but eating too many causes vomiting and headaches.
See some of the other beautiful flowers in K-Country here!