Ledge Stonecrop – Rhodiola integrifolia

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Alaska Wildflowers | Red and Other Colors

Photo of the flowering plant, ledge stonecrop, in Alaska

Ledge Stonecrop

Rhodiola integrifolia ssp. integrifolia

Common Names

entireleaf stonecrop
king’s crown
ledge stonecrop
western roseroot

Synonyms

Sedum integrifolium (Raf.) A. Nelson
Sedum integrifolium ssp. integrifolium (Raf.) A. Nelson
Sedum integrifolium ssp. procerum R.T. Clausen
Sedum alaskanum (Rose) Rose ex Hutch.
Tolmachevia integrifolia (Raf.) Á. Löve & D. Löve
Sedum rosea ssp. integrifolium (Raf.) Hultén
Sedum rosea var. alaskanum (Rose) A. Berger
Sedum rosea var. frigidum (Rydb.) Hultén
Sedum rosea var. integrifolium (Raf.) A. Berger
Rhodiola integrifolia ssp. procera (R.T. Clausen) Kartesz
Sedum roseum ssp. integrifolium (Raf.) Hultén
Sedum roseum var. integrifolium (Raf.) A. Berger
Sedum roseum var. frigidum (Rydb.) Hultén
Sedum roseum var. alaskanum (Rose) A. Berger

Subspecies

All subspecies to Rhodiola integrifolia:
Rhodiola integrifolia ssp. integrifolia (ledge stonecrop)
Rhodiola integrifolia ssp. leedyi (Leedy’s stonecrop)
Rhodiola integrifolia ssp. neomexicana (New Mexican stonecrop)

Genus: Rhodiola (stonecrop)
Family: Crassulaceae (stonecrops, orpins)
Order: Saxifragales
full classification

Duration – Growth Habit

Perennial – Forb/herb


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Identification and Information

Rhodiola integrifolia ssp. integrifolia is a perennial herb that grows from a 1-5 cm thick branched (spreading) rhizome. The stems are erect and typically 3-15 cm (1-6 inches) tall, although may be up to 50 cm (20 inches) tall. There are numerous above-ground stems, often forming a mat. The leaves can be quite varied between individual specimens. The leaf blades are deciduous, succulent, green or bright green, sometimes powdery, ovate (egg-shaped), elliptic or oblanceolate. The leaf margins can be entire (not lobed or toothed) or heavily toothed. Sometimes the leaf margins will be dark red. The apex (tip) of the leaf may be acute (pointy) or obtuse (rounded). The leaves are typically larger higher on the stem and very small at the base.

The inflorescence is a terminal cluster of umbrella-shaped flowers. The flowers are unisexual. The sepals are lanceolate to ovate. The petals are typically dark red (may be yellowish near the base) and slightly wider and longer than the sepals. The stamens of the male flowers are slightly longer than the petals. The female inflorescence when in seed may have numerous 4 or 5-parted thick follicles and are often darker red or even purplish.

Uses

For information only (typically historical) – I take no responsibility for adverse effects from the use of any plant.

Multiple parts of ledge stonecrop are used as food by Alaskan Iñupiat and possibly other Alaska Natives. The roots are both used as food or chewed for sores in the mouth. Also, the red flowering tops are used to make a tea-like beverage.

Distribution and Habitat

The various subspecies of Rhodiola integrifolia are (mostly) regionally distinct. The primary species in Alaska and Canada is R. integrifolia subsp. integrifolia. This subspecies is also the most widespread of the subspecies, found across most of the western USA including Alaska, western Canada and Siberia. The other two subspecies, leedyi is found in Minnesota and New York, and neomexicana is only found in New Mexico. There is a fourth subspecies that is not included in all sources, procera, which is found in Colorado and New Mexico.

Ledge stonecrop is often found in alpine meadows, cliffs, or rocky slopes as well as tundra. I frequently find it in rocky, overgrown stream beds (many of the specimens I have found are in the Nome Creek valley in the White Mountain National Recreation Area in the Alaska interior and on slopes near the Savage River in Denali National Park).

Classification

RankScientific Name (Common Name)
KingdomPlantae (plantes, Planta, Vegetal, plants)
   SubkingdomViridiplantae (green plants)
      InfrakingdomStreptophyta (land plants)
         SuperdivisionEmbryophyta 
            DivisionTracheophyta (vascular plants, tracheophytes)
               SubdivisionSpermatophytina (spermatophytes, seed plants, phanérogames)
                  ClassMagnoliopsida 
                     SuperorderSaxifraganae 
                        OrderSaxifragales 
                           FamilyCrassulaceae (stonecrops, orpins)
                              GenusRhodiola L. (stonecrop)
                                 SpeciesRhodiola integrifolia Raf. (ledge stonecrop)
                                    SubspeciesRhodiola integrifolia ssp. integrifolia Raf. (ledge stonecrop)

References and Further Reading

Guidebook

Field Guide to Alaskan Wildflowers, Pratt, Verna E. pg 80

Classification and Taxonomy

R. integrifolia ssp. integrifolia Raf. Taxonomic Serial No.: 566078, ITIS Database

R. integrifolia Raf. ssp. integrifolia ledge stonecrop, USDA Database

Uses

R. integrifolia ssp. integrifolia, Native American Ethnobotany Database

Map and Distribution

R. integrifolia subsp. integrifolia Published in: Raf. In: Atl. Journ. 146. (1832), GBIF Database

R. integrifolia Raf.; Atl. Journ. 146 (1832), World Plants Database

Description and Information

2. Rhodiola integrifolia Rafinesque, Atlantic J. 1: 146. 1832., Flora of North America

R. integrifolia Raf. subsp. integrifolia ledge stonecrop (roseroot), Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

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