Crassulaceae (Stonecrop Family)

Members of Crassulaceae usually have fleshy leaves, are perennial, have 5 separate sepals, 5 petals, 5 or 10 stamens, and a pistil with 5 divisions. The annuals in the genera Crassula and Parvisedum, however, have all this in groups of four.


Stonecrops (Sedum) and houseleeks (Sempervivum) have long been cultivated in dish gradens and rockeries. Sempervivum tectorum, better known as "Hens and Chicks", was once planted on tile roofs to provide protection from lightning. While this may not have been effective, its juice is believed to be useful in the treatment of ringworm and warts.


Bluff Lettuce - Dudleya farinosa. - and Stonecrop - Sedum spathulifolium. - grow on Montara Mountain



Dudleya farinosa:
Bluff Lettuce

Crassulaceae (Stonecrop Family)

Flowers: Pale lemon-yellow, 5 connected petals in upright tubes; in tight clusters at top of stem.

Blooms: May - September.

Leaves: Green to red, oval and pointed; in rosette at base of stem and as triangular platforms up along stems. Lower leaves often densely covered with a white mealy wax.

Fruit/Seeds: Small dark seed forming in dried cups of flowers.

Location: Bluff trails and rocky areas, trail cuts. Trail cuts on Gray Whale Cove Trail and San Pedro Mtn. Road in McNee Ranch State Park are good places to find it.

Status: Native - Common.

Dudleya farinosa

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Further description & Comment: 4 - 12 inches tall; green to red succulent stems. Also known as "Powdery Dudleya." Edibility is unknown, but with a name like "Bluff Lettuce" ....

Image at left shows the basal rosettes of pointed leaves. The similar Stonecrop - Sedum spathulifolium - has rounded leaves and open flowers.

600x450 JPEG - 96K



Sedum spathulifolium:

Crassulaceae (Stonecrop Family)

Flowers: 5 petals, yellow, star-like in branching clusters atop stem. Petals completely separate when open.

Blooms: May - August.

Leaves: Grey-green and powdery; rounded, in rosette at base of stem and as narrow platforms up along stems.

Fruit/Seeds: ??

Location: Bluff trails and rocky areas, trail cuts at higher elevations. Around the saddle pass area and along the North Peak Road.

Status: Native - Common.

Sedum spathulifolium

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Further description & Comment: 2 - 8 inches tall; succulent red stems. Numerous rosettes are often connected by runner-like stems.

Image at left shows the basal rosettes of pointed leaves. The similar Bluff Lettuce - Dudleya farinosa - has pointed rosette leaves and tight flower heads.

Stonecrop is one of the critical food plants for the rare and endangered San Bruno Elfin butterfly.

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