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OAXACANUM Rose, 1911

Synonym : Sedum polyrhizum  Praeger (1921) *


Distribution : Mexico (Oaxaca), ± 3500 m



Description (according to IHSP, 2003) :


Tufted perennial herbs with roughened prostrate much-branched stems, rooting, to 15 cm long.


Leaves alternate, oblong to obovate, obtuse, slightly mamillate, broadly spurred, subterete, 3 - 6 mm.


Inflorescence : flowering branches erect, inflorescence few-flowered leafy corymbs


Flowers 5-merous, sessile or subsessile, sepals broadly sessile, equal, linear to narrowly triangular, subobtuse, 3 - 4 mm, suberect, petals almost free to the base, sub-oblong, obtuse, broad below the tip, narrowly mucronate, yellow, 7 - 8 mm, suberect.


Cytology: 2n = 68.


* The incompletely known S. polyrhizum may belong here or may as well belong to S. australe.



Ray Stephenson (Sedum, Cultivated Stonecrops, 1994, p 259)


Sedum oaxacanum is a fairly common species in succulent collections, often bearing the label S. australe, which is a similar species (not in cultivation) with terete leaves. Alternate leaves, which cluster into rosettes on tips of 8-cm (3-in) long stems, are pruinose, especially when new. Purple, trailing stems are rough-papillose with tips erect. The overall effect is quite charming. Yellow flowers are produced sparsely in early summer.


Habitat : Central Oaxaca on Cerro de San Felipe at 3500 m (11,500 ft) is the main home of this stonecrop, but it is also reported from southern Puebla.


Main points of distinction : Scurfy-white flattish, papillose, spurred leaves are quite distinct. Yellow kyphocarpic flowers have equal sepals, and petals with stamens inserted 2 mm (0.08 in) from the base, n = 34. This stonecrop resembles, and is often seen masquerading as, one of several South African Crassula species, especially C. dasyphylla, a plant with tiny flowers and a single whorl of stamens.


Variation : Most plants in cultivation have been propagated vegetatively over a couple of generations, but a new distribution from a lower altitude in San Miguel Aztatla, Sierra Mixteca, appears identical.


Horticulture : This is a delightful species for a small earthenware container where it can creep over the edge. Seing from such a high altitude, it is half-hardy and worth trying outdoors in warmer areas.


S. oaxacanum growing in very exposed position, here with Echeveria longissima var. aztatlensis.
Photos Gerhard Köhres

Sedum oaxacanum fa. polyrhizum in habitat (Chiapas, near border to Guatemala) :

Photos © Ralph Mangelsdorff

Photos Margrit Bischofberger

Photo Dagmar PetrlikowaS. oaxacanum fa. "polyrhizum" :

Photos Ray Stephenson

Cultivated in a rockery, in Basque Country, France

Photo Emmanuelle Aubé

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