A mat-forming perennial herb of open, dry, well-drained habitats, including rocks and screes, wooded cliffs and gullies. Naturalised colonies are found in churchyards, on waste ground, mine waste, walls and railway land. Lowland to 600 m as native (Llyn y Fan Fach, Carms.).
This species is grown in rockeries and on graves, and has become naturalised in many areas outside its native range. There has been a considerable increase in records since the 1962 Atlas. The distribution of native and introduced plants, even in its core western areas, is now hopelessly muddled.
Oceanic Southern-temperate element.
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Light (Ellenberg): 7
Moisture (Ellenberg): 3
Reaction (Ellenberg): 5
Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 1
Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0
January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6
July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.8
Annual Precipitation (mm): 1239
Height (cm): 20
Perennation - primary
Life Form - primary
Clonality - primary
Clonality - secondary
Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 122
Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 0
Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0
Atlas Change Index: 1.54
Scarce Atlas Account
Sedum forsterianum Smith
This is a very local species occurring on rocks and screes. It can grow in open, dry situations, or in wet woodland. In Britain the more usual habitat is open rock faces and broken cliffs, often near the sea. It is found in open grassland communities and occurs with other rare or scarce species, including Helianthemum apenninum, Inula conyza, Scilla autumnalis and Trinia glauca. Its commoner associates include Dactylis glomerata, Festuca ovina, Koeleria macrantha, Pilosella officinarum, Plantago lanceolata, Sedum acre, S. album and Thymus polytrichus. It is grown as a rockery plant in gardens and over graves in churchyards, and it has occasionally become established in the wild from discarded stock. The altitudinal range of S. forsterianum is from sea level on the west coast to 600 metres at Llyn-y-fan Fach in the Black Mountains.
It is a perennial plant with creeping stems forming mats. Short ascending stems are sterile, whilst flowering stems are much longer. It is known to spread vegetatively.
S. forsterianum seems to have become more common throughout its western range. It may have benefited from increased grazing as it can easily spread into open ground by broken-off stems, and it is not palatable.
In Europe it has an essentially western distribution, occurring from southern Spain north to Britain, and it is often found in damper situations than in Britain. It is also reported from Morocco.
Populations are variable and it was previously thought that two subspecies could be recognised. They have not been maintained by Stace (1991).
Atlas text references
1999. A flora of Norfolk.
1986. Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Jalas & Suominen (1999)
1965. Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.
1994. Scarce plants in Britain.