/ \ Crassulaceae is a very diverse
/ \ family of succulent plants
/ \ distributed widely around the world,
________/ Grapto- \________ primarily in dry arid areas. The
/ \ petalum / \ Crassulaceae family is often seen
/ \ / \ referred to as stonecrops (though it
/ Rosularia \ / Greenovia \ is more common for stonecrop to refer
/ \________/ \ to a specific genus of Crassulaceae
\ Pachyphytum / \ / called sedum). The name comes from
\ / \ Aeonium / these plants propensity to growing in
\ / Rosette- \ / crevasses between rocks.
\________/ Forming \________/
/ \ Crassulaceae / \ Many different genera of rosette-
/ \ / \ forming Crassulaceae are included
/ Orostachys \ / \ in the generic name hens and chicks
/ \________/ Adromischus \ (notably echeveria, and
\ / \ / sempervivum), due to to how they
\ Echeveria / Tacitus \ Jovibarba / prolifically propagate themselves
\ / \ / through the production of offsets
\________/ Sempervivum \________/ (called chicks) from the main plant
\ / (called the hen). Many species are also
\ Dudleya / given variants on the name "Live-forever"
\ / (Dudleya: Canyon Live Forever, Rock Live
\________/ Forever) . Although many species are monocarpic
(meaning the plant dies after flowering), the
the offshoots continue to thrive and spread, making the plant
appear to live forever. The genus sempervivum means live-forver
(semper always, vivum, live).
In the alpine region of Europe (where houseleek is a common name for Sempervivum
and Jovibarba), rosette-forming Crassulaceae are commonly seen growing in
rock-wall crevices and covering the roofs of houses. When on roofs, they are
considered beneficial to keeping lightning from striking the house and are
considered a fire-retardant, and superstition claims they protect the house from
Most genera appreciate strong light and little water. They can live in fairly
poor soil conditions so long as the soil is well draining. Most plants have a
dormant period which corresponds to periods of lower rains and humidity within
Many plants are considered edible, and may have medicinal benefits. In Europe,
sempervivum was used to help ease aches. Juice was extracted and drunk straight
or mixed with barley meal or rose oil. As well, many of these Crassulaceae
produce juices which are used similar to aloe vera for burns.
Rosette-forming Crassulaceae are interesting due to the wide visual differences
between the genera. The colouration, forms, and flowers can be markedly
different. Dramatic colours (such as black and purple) have made many plants
very popular with both avid succulent hobbyists and the beginning gardener. Many
plants have near-perfect symmetry. One species (orostachys spinosa) has a leaf
pattern which follows the Fibonacci Sequence.
This is a work-in-progress (as is taxonomy in general). There are other
Crassulaceae genera which may contain rosette-forming species (such as sedum),
however this project is an attempt to cover genera which have very distinct,
tight, and easily identifiable rosette forms.
My interest in succulents started because they were plants that I couldn't kill. It turned out many of the plants I just happened to pick happened to be of the same family: Crassulaceae. This piqued my interest even more. I went from jade plant and kalanchoe to my first rosettes, sempervivum. I doubt I would have gotten so interested in these plants if there had not been two plants mixed with the sempervivum which were visually distinct from the rest, being of startlingly different color and shape. I set out to identify these plants and was led on a journey into all the crassulaceae which form rosettes. These two mystery plants are of the genus orostachys, which were (of course), the last genus in the list I compiled for study. So here it is. A fairly broad overview of the genera of Rosette-Forming Crassulaceae.