another mystery plant

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Howey
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-05-17
another mystery plant

Have had this tiny plant quite a while. To give you some idea of its size, it is next to Potentilla tridentata which is also quite miniature - you can see the leaves on the left. Could be some type of Saxifrage or a wee Semp. Any ideas?

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Looks like a saxifrage to me, rather than a sempervivum.  What do the plant ID experts say?

Edit:  Acckk, disregard the above!  :P

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

You have to look at the fruit. If it consists of two carpels with one stigma each it is a sax. They usually have nectar discs too.
If the fruit consists of five (separate) (sometimes less) carpels it is a Crassulaceae.
It is not easy to decide from the pics.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Howey
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-05-17

Yes, the picture isn't too clear - no camera is quite as good as the human eye, eh?  Anyway, Hoy, not having a microscope of my own, am sure I can take a closer look at the "fruit" if I take a sample up to the University Herbarium.  The flowers have gone by of course, but there may be a bit of something.  The little plant originally came from friend and co-alpine garden fiend, Andrew Osyany, who used to have a small business distributing seeds imported from Slovakia. 

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

In botany a fruit is the part of a plant containing seeds and not only apples. So it is not necessary to use quotation marks.

I think you can observe this with your eye or a magnifying glass.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

I'm go out on a limb here, and suggest this is indeed a Crassulaceae, somehow the foliage just has that look of a Rosularia (now referred variably to either Umbilicus or Prometheum), as do the flowers.  Some Saxifraga can do a really good imitation of a succulent, but I'm still sticking with Rosularia.  The plant is reminiscent of R. platyphylla, but not quite an exact match.
http://flower.onego.ru/anpine/ena_7965.jpg

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

I agree with you, Mark. I have a very similar looking plant, Rosularia sedoides, although it is bigger in all aspects.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Howey
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-05-17

Guess there are others trying to identify this plant.  There is a picture of it on Village Garden Web where people are invited to guess what it is.  One person identified it as  "a form of Rosularia setulosa Milfordae" and I am inclined to go with that.  However, I still plan to have a better look at it through a microscope.  I appreciate all the input.  Fran

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Howey wrote:

Guess there are others trying to identify this plant.  There is a picture of it on Village Garden Web where people are invited to guess what it is.  One person identified it as  "a form of Rosularia setulosa Milfordae" and I am inclined to go with that.  However, I still plan to have a better look at it through a microscope.  I appreciate all the input.  Fran

Aha!  I believe your plant is Crassula milfordiae (sometimes put into synonymy with C. setulosa, sometimes not).  I believe the following links should provide a conclusive ID... I wonder if it is hardy, but based on what I read, I think it'll be marginal or tender in tough winter climates, but Frances, it sounds like it is hardy for you, as you say you had it for a while? A very pretty plant though.

http://www.mytho-fleurs.com/images/Jardin%20du%20Haut-Chitelet/crassula_...
http://www.mytho-fleurs.com/images/Jardin%20du%20Haut-Chitelet/crassula_...
http://www.filuna.cz/picture/Filunafotky/Mate%E8nice/Mate%E8nice3/Crassu...
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Crassula_milfordiae_2.jpg
http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Crassula_milfordiae_1.jpg
http://www.agreengarden.com/plants/crassula-milfordiae.asp
Winter color: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/184742/
http://www.franz-alpines.org/g_crassula_milfordiae.html

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

McGregorUS
McGregorUS's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2009-12-18

The pics you posted links to make it fairly clear that your ID is right - well done. It's a nice plant and obviously can make good cushions. Whereabouts are you Frances, since it's obviously growing well for you?

It's an intriguing example of how plants from different genera or even families can end up with very similar growth habits. It looks very like many saxifrages but there are no saxifrages of any type in South Africa but there are still niches available so something will fill it. Similarly in New Zealand there are a whole range of plants that will fill the same slot.

Malcolm McGregor
Global Moderator/NARGS Editor
East Yorkshire, UK

Howey
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-05-17

Thanks so much Mark.  Malcolm, I live in London, Ontario,Canada, zone 5b where we sometimes get temperatures down to 28 below Celsius and the summers are hot, dry and humid.  This Crassula lives in a trough and has even spilled over onto the ground around the trough where it cavorts with a runaway Antennaria - perfectly hardy here.  Fran

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