A1 Plant For Bee Forage ~ Shame About The New Name

We used to call them sedums (Sedum spectabile). Now, for reasons best known to botanical taxonomists, these common garden succulents have been re-named Hylotelephium spectabile. Talk about a horticultural tongue-twister.

They are late summer bloomers of the stone crop family with flat umbrellas of tiny flowers, on the cusp of opening in the header photo. (The fallen petals belong to some neighbouring phlox). Once they are flowering, the bees and other pollinators will come in swarms for their end-of-season stoke-up on nectar. They are VERY IMPORTANT bee fodder.

That’s one good reason to grow them. Another is that they are exceedingly drought tolerant. A clump on an abandoned  plot at the allotment has survived all through the four months of heat and drought, while anyway occupying an arid, rain-shadowed spot under a goat willow, and without any attention whatsoever. While the stems are looking a touch pallid, it is still preparing to put on a floral display. I’m thinking I might repatriate it chez Farrell, that’s if I can excavate it from the concrete soil in which it is presently subsisting.

And the third reason for growing sedums is that they have a certain architectural value in the garden – both before, during, and after flowering. They come in a range of colours through the pink to burgundy spectrum. There are also white ones, and some with variegated foliage.

With some thoughtful planting they can indeed be spectabile, limit the need for watering in dry weather, and keep the bees well fed at summer’s end.


In the Pink #10

43 thoughts on “A1 Plant For Bee Forage ~ Shame About The New Name

  1. Love sedums! They’re not a natural in Bristol’s heavy clay soil, but I have a couple in pots and you’re right, they’re so hardy you can almost ignore them. I have the one in your picture but also a Sea Star one that looks as though it has lots of starfish wriggling around on the end of the stems! I shall happily ignore the new name – why do they insist in doing that? Lovely pics, Tish

    1. Or why be quite so complicated about it. Think I’ll just stick to sedums. Can’t imagine many people would know what a hylotelephium is. Sounds like a spare part for an electricity pylon or a cell phone mast.

      1. Haha! Very true. They tried to do this a few years ago with chrysanthemums, renaming them dendranthemum. Everyone I know still calls them chrysanths 🙂 And sedum is a prettier name anyway.

  2. oh no – will never get my tongue around Hylotelephium – thank goodness the spectabile part remains – as I age and dry out myself have become very fond of stonecrops, sempervivums and succulents.

  3. After seeing the botanical tongue twister I decided to just remember sedum, which has a remarkable flower and has so many positive aspects for insect and people alike. Great photos, Tish!

  4. So many plants are having a name change and it has taken me this long to remember the ones I do know! It will remain a sedum or stonecrop to me. I only have the creeping ones, which flower earlier, but I wouldn’t mind a couple of these larger varieties if I can find some space!

  5. I struggle as it is to remember names that have been around a while if they change there’s absolutely no hope for me!! Think I need to come back as. Bee, names are irrelevant then!

    1. This is one of our smaller varieties of solitary bumble bees, a bit over a centimetre long. We have many different sorts, some twice the size, and some a bit smaller. And then there are honey bees, which don’t seem so plentiful these days.

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