Sedum adolphi and S. 'Golden Glow'

Sedum adolphi has been described by Raymond Hamet in Notizblatt des Königl. Bot. Gartens Berlin 5(49): 277-278, 1912. It had been grown from seed collected in Mexico by Karl Albert Purpus at Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden and probably flowered for the first time in 1911. Hamet named it for Adolf Engler, director of this botanical garden at that time. It is not clear whether the description had been made from living or dried material.

Description :

A loosely bushy, very fleshy, glabrous evergreen perennial.

Roots fibrous.

Stems with wide-spreading branches, ascending or sprawling or tortuous when old, smooth, round, about  ¼ inch thick, leafy; flowering branches lateral, arising from one of the uppermost leaf-axils, more slender than the barren branches, 3-5 inches long, leafy.

Leaves alternate, those of barren shoots rather crowded, set at right angles to the stem, curving upwards, very fleshy, firm, broadly lanceolate or oblanceolate, bluntly pointed or subacute at apex, narrowing below, sessile, flat on face, about 1 ½ inch (28 mm) long, 5/8 inch (13 mm) broad, ¼ inch thick, glabrous, yellowish green with reddish margins; those of the flowering shoots similar but smaller, about ¾ inch long by ½ inch broad.

Inflorescence compact, hemispherical, about 2 inches across, of several very short branches bearing long pedicels.

Flowers ¾ inch across, white, starry, on slender pinkish pedicels ½ inch to 5/ inch long. Buds slender, bulged 2/2 way up where the stamens are situated. Calyx small, about 1/8 inch long, divided about halfway down into unequal teeth, reddish green. Petals free, ovate-lanceolate, acuminate, 3/8 inch (9 mm) long, white, wide-spreading, with a small mucro behind and exceeding the tip. Stamens nearly equaling the petals, filaments slightly tapering, white, anthers pale yellow. Scales small, quadrate, bluntly retuse, minutely emarginated, reddish. Carpels erect, slightly exceeding the stamens, white, with long slender styles.


According to this description and the illustration the leaves of Sedum adolphi are rounded below but not keeled. The inflorescence is compact, branches are short. Most likely this plant has never been widely distributed and may be lost to cultivation since very long time.

Later descriptions of Sedum adolphi (Evans, 1983, t’Hart & Bleij, 2003) describe the leaves as keeled below and the inflorescence as more spreading and with a long peduncle. This suggests that the plant they had in mind was not the original S. adolphi but an imposter, to be found in collections with the name S. adolphi as well as with the name xGraptosedum ‘Golden Glow’. The origine of this wrong S. adolphi / xG. ‘Golden Glow’ is unknown, and it is also uncertain whether it is a hybrid or not. In any case it is not a xGraptosedum and for the time being it is best considered as Sedum ‘Golden Glow’.

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