MOSSY STONECROP

Crassula tillaea

Stonecrop Family [Crassulaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8white
 
inner
inner8red
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ3
3-(4)
stem
stem8round
 
rarity
rarityZscarce
 

22nd April 2015, Pensthorpe, Norfolk. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
A miniscule stonecrop barely 5cm in length and usually prostrate but can be ascending. At first greyish-green but quickly becoming scarlet red. [Most of the of the much larger green plants are grasses and other plants].


22nd April 2015, Pensthorpe, Norfolk. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
Occupies bare patches on sand or gravel soils. Only the scarlet red plants are Mossy Stonecrop.


22nd April 2015, Pensthorpe, Norfolk. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
It is a quite rare [RR] and an annual. The tiny pointy parts are flowers (they don't open much at all).


7th Oct 2014, nr. Liphook, East Hampshire. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
Most of this specimen has yet to turn scarlet red, the rest is greyish-green and consists mostly of the plump fleshy leaves.


7th Oct 2014, nr. Liphook, East Hampshire. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
The tiny plump fleshy leaves are but 1 or 2mm long. The stems are already turning scarlet-red.


7th Oct 2014, nr. Liphook, East Hampshire. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
Leaves in opposite pairs around the stem. The stems, which are also fleshy, are branched.


22nd April 2015, Pensthorpe, Norfolk. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
A mix of fleshy leaves and solitary flowers, themselves a similar 1-2mm across. The flowers have 3 triangular translucent-white petals with 3 fatter leaf-like pointed bracts around them but which are shorter than the petals. There are some anthers to be seen in the flower middle-right. Other flowers with white petals to be espied on the left.


22nd April 2015, Pensthorpe, Norfolk. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
Flowers visible at bottom with 3 translucent-white triangular petals and three stamens with cream coloured anthers on display. The flowers occur in the axils of the fleshy leaves. Sand-grains litter the bare ground,


22nd April 2015, Pensthorpe, Norfolk. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
More flowers to be found in this image.


27th May 2015, Morrisons Car Park, Lake, Sandown, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone


27th May 2015, Morrisons Car Park, Lake, Sandown, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Not every flower has 3 petals and 3 sepals and 3 anthers; some have 4. The plant is said to be 3-(4)-merous. the flowers are stalkless or nearly so.


Not to be semantically confused with : Stonecrops (Sedum) species [plants with similar names belonging to differing genus but in the same family (Crassulaceae)]. Because of its short bulbous fleshy leaves it resembles several different Stonecrops such as English Stonecrop (Sedum anglicum) and White Stonecrop (Sedum album)but is itself one of the Pigmyweeds (such as New-Zealand Pigmyweed (Crassula helmsii))], but is smaller than any of those.

No relation to : Mossy Sandwort Mossy Sandwort (Arenaria balearica), Mossy Stonewort (Chara muscosa) nor Mossy Saxifrage (Saxifraga hypnoides) [plants with similar names belonging to differing families].

Somewhat similar to Coral Necklace (Illecebrum verticillatum) which is also sprawling with tendencies to go deep red, but at up to 20cm long is longer than the ~5cm of Mossy Stonecrop. The flowers are also tiny and white, but have 5 petals and sepals rather than just the 3 (or sometimes 4) of Mossy Stonecrop. Coral Necklace a not a succulent either, but grows in perhaps a similar damp sandy heath environment, apart from the 'damp' bit.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : Its small bulbously-fleshy leaves only 1-2mm long and its overall shortness itself of only 5cm, and its tendency to quickly turn scarlet red all over apart from the translucent white tiny flowers also just 1-2mm across.

It is a rare native annual plant which is tiny, with tiny 1-2mm long fleshy leaves and tiny 1-2mm across flowers with 3 (sometimes 4) translucent-white petals, slightly shorter red sepals and cream coloured anthers. Its fruit is minute and contains one or 2 seeds.

It grows on acidic soils on bare, sandy or gravelly places such as paths, heathland, open forest rides on the coastal areas fairly near the sea in East Anglia or a few miles around Portsmouth, scattered elsewhere.


  Crassula tillaea  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Crassulaceae  

Distribution
 family8Stonecrop family8Crassulaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Crassula
Crassula
(Pigmyweeds)

MOSSY STONECROP

Crassula tillaea

Stonecrop Family [Crassulaceae]