Sedum ternatum

A creeping succulent growing in rocky habitats

Sedum ternatum woodland stonecrop

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneouslyPlant is native to PA

This native perennial wildflower is common on damp rocky banks, often growing over stones. Its roots, however, do need some soil and the plant does not entirely grow from rocks or stones. It is a member of the stonecrop family. This species is found throughout eastern and central United States.

The plant produces three horizontal branches at its base that lie across the ground, but sometimes send up erect sprouts. These smooth, green and creeping and spreading stems can also form roots at their nodes. The plant may also spread when pieces of stem break off from the “mother” stem. This species may form dense mats where conditions are good. When many plants are crowded together the three radiating stems may not be as obvious. The stems bear small, fleshy oval-shaped toothless leaves either alternating or in whorls of three with ten to twenty-five 2/5 inch white flowers. The blossoms have 4 narrow, pointed petals and shorter green sepals. The brownish anthers are most prominent. Various kinds of small bees serve as pollinators. The plant may also produce sterile branches without flowers.

The woodland stonecrop blooms from April through June with individual plants bearing flowers for about a month. It tends to grow where it can receive sunlight all season long, but can tolerate partial shade. Normally it grows in or near woods. It has been successfully cultivated as a ground cover plant or for rock gardens. It is tolerant of drought and is not generally eaten by deer or rabbits. All parts of the plant are mildly toxic if eaten. Although it is reported that some people consume the leaves either raw or cooked, it is probably best avoided.

Contributed by: Mark Welchley

Occasional in rocky banks, cliffs, and woods.

Mostly present in western and central parts of the state.

Range:  Found throughout eastern and central United States, but only in the mountains of the far southern states.

Wetland codes

Flowers April through June.

S-rank:  No Rank
G-rank:  G5 (Secure)

Sedum ternatum woodland stonecrop

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneouslyPlant is native to PA
Sedum ternatum gallery
Plant Life-Form
perennial forb
Common Names
woodland stonecrop